Parties fail to pick common presidential candidate; frontrunners are three Madhesis
With discussions among the parties for a common presidential candidate going nowhere, the three major parties - CPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) - have come up with their own candidates for the posts of president and vice-president. What's common about their proposals is that all three presidential candidates are Madhesis.
While the Maoists have proposed Ram Raja Prasad Singh and Shanta Shrestha as the candidates for president and vice-president respectively the CPN (UML) has named Ramprit Paswan as the presidential candidate. Likewise, the UML has nominated its central leader Astha Laxmi Shakya as the candidate of vice-president.
An informal meeting of the Maoists decided to back Singh for the presidency, as several rounds of talks with the CPN (UML) to pick up a common candidate proved futile.
"We have proposed Ramraja Prasad Singh as the presidential candidate and our proposal is final," Maoist chairman Prachanda' told reporters after the meeting, adding, "We are optimistic that Madhesi parties will back him."
Following the CPN-M's decision, a meeting of UML leaders came up its own nominees for the top posts.
Some UML leader reacted sharply to the Maoist proposal, saying that the Maoists betrayed them at the last minute even after assuring to support a UML candidate.
Meanwhile, the Nepali Congress has named its general secretary Dr Ram Baran Yadav and central member Min Bahadur Bishwokarma as the candidates for president and vice-president respectively.
An emergency meeting of the central working committee of the party proposed the names. Prime Minister and party president Girija Prasad Koirala was also present during the meeting.
In the thick of this all, three prominent Madhesi parties - Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party and Sadbhwana Party - are yet to decided on the presidential nominee.