|PARKING FULL: Rush hour on Thursday afternoon at Kathmandu airport as the country sees an unprecedented boom in air travel and tourism. Two new airlines start services to Kathmandu this week: Hong Kong Express and Orient Thai.|
As marathon negotiations to fix elections get into the final lap, new doubts have emerged about whether the leaders of the NC and Maoists are actually serious about polls at all.
The NC is under tremendous pressure from royalists in the ranks who have rejected declaring a republic before elections, and have even threatened to mutiny if the prime minister goes ahead. This group consists mainly of conservative trans-Karnali politicians.
The Maoist leadership, on the other hand, is still paralysed by an existential crisis over polls. Radicals there, too, have put pressure on the bosses to push for either a roundtable conference or a full proportional election.
NC leader Shekhar Koirala rejects a roundtable outright. "Where in the world do you have a roundtable when parliament is in session? This just proves the Maoists have no intention to go for elections," he told himalkhabar.com on Thursday.
However, the issue of a new government with the NC, UML and Maoists dividing up three main ministries has been set aside as too contentious for now. The three parties are under increasing pressure from India to resolve their differences and get serious about polls.
Contrary to the flexibility they showed last week, the Maoists have also become rigid again. "If there is no full proportional elections then let's have a roundtable conference, that is our bottomline,"says Maoist leader CP Gajurel. But analysts
say 'roundtable conference' is a euphemism for postponing elections again.
Meanwhile, the United Madhesi Front made up of Upendra Yadav's MJF and a group of politicians led by Rajendra Mahato have announced a month of protests to commemorate last year's madhes uprising with demands that include a new census and a new caretaker government.