More than a month after the Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives, Nepali Congress held a meeting with the CPN-Maoist Centre and the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal, seeking their support to form the next government under its leadership, but the meeting ended inconclusively.

The JSP-N, which holds the key to form an alternative government, sought more time to discuss the NC's proposal within the party.

Emerging from the meeting, JSP-N Co-chair Mahantha Thakur said he made it clear in the meeting that his party had been holding talks with the Oli government on its demands, including release of lawmaker Resham Chaudhary and other party leaders and cadres who were falsely indicted during the Madhes movement, passing of citizenship bill without any delay, and amendment to the constitution to address identity of the marginalised groups and communities.

Asked whether their indecision was obstructing the formation of the next government, Thakur said the NC held the first meeting on the formation of the next government today.

CPN-MC Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told mediapersons that NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba said since Oli was trying to use state machinery for his and his party's interest, formation of an alternative government was necessary to hold democratic elections.

Shrestha said his party would back the NC if it led the government.

He said the PM, who was supposed to seek a vote of confidence in the Parliament within a month of the Supreme Court's order nullifying the unification of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), had not honoured the constitutional provision.

He said his party had not withdrawn support to the government since it wanted that the process of forming the next government and the process of withdrawing support to the government should go hand in hand. Shrestha said his party would withdraw support to the Oli government even if the process of forming a new government made no headway.

NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said the NC and the CPN-MC were ready to form the new government and were waiting for the JSP- N's decision. "We hope that the JSP-N will soon take an appropriate decision. It has been weighing its options -- whether to support the government or side with the NC and the JSP-N," he added.

Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato are exploring the possibility of forging an alliance with the NC and the JSP-N if their demands are met. Baburam Bhattarai and Upendra Yadav, on the other hand, have ruled out any possibility of joining hands with Oli, who took a 'regressive step' against the constitution.

JSP-N leaders say the party should lead the government if it ties up with the NC and the CPN-MC for the formation of the next government.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 10, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.