Despite a boycott by the opposition alliance, the Constituent Assembly has given itself more time to finish work on a questionnaire for the CA to decide on federalism, multi-culturalism, secularism, local governance, inclusion and prior rights of indigenous people. Although the ruling coalition sees this as an extension on the voting process, the real intention, it seems, is to buy time for informal negotiations with the Maoist-Madhesi alliance. Moderate second-echelon leaders within the NC and UML who haven’t yet burned their bridges with the opposition have taken the lead in initiating discussions. The atmosphere is so vitiated between and within the parties, as well as the government and some members of the international community there is a feeling that everyone needs a cooling off period. The people, who didn’t have much faith left in the leaders anyway, are struggling to survive amidst much more immediate concerns of shortages of gas, electricity, water and petrol. There is almost a sense of relief that confrontation over a constitution that will satisfy nobody has once more been put off.