Kathmandu, May 21 (PTI) Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Friday told the Opposition alliance that she will seek advice from constitutional experts before taking a call on government formation after her office registered separate premiership claims from it and Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, according to a media report.
Both Oli and Opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba presented their claims to the president on Friday, minutes before the 5:00 PM deadline set by Bhandari for the parties to stake a claim to form a new government.
Oli was the first to declare that he had the support of 153 lawmakers of the House of Representatives, a day after recommending to the president to initiate the process for formation of a new government in accordance to Article 76(5) of the Constitution, citing that he does not have adequate support to go through another floor test.
The letter he submitted had his signature along with the signatures of Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal chair Mahanta Thakur and the party's parliamentary party leader Rajendra Mahato.
Likewise, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba along with other leaders of the Opposition alliance reached Shital Niwas with signatures of 149 lawmakers including 27 lawmakers from the Khanal-Nepal faction of the CPN-UML.
The president apparently told the Opposition leaders that she would take a call after consulting constitutional experts, The Himalayan Times reported.
However, a dispute has emerged after a few lawmakers from the Madhav Nepal faction put out statements claiming that their signatures were misused and that they did not sign any paper to install Opposition leader Deuba as the prime minister against their own party chief, the report said.
Foreign Affairs Advisor to Oli Rajan Bhattarai published one of the MP's letters in which he claimed that his signature was misused without his knowledge, it said.
Some leaders present at a meeting of the taskforce formed to resolve differences between the warring Oli-group and Nepal-group in the ruling party also stated that their signatures were used without their knowledge.
Meanwhile, Oli has summoned an out-of-schedule meeting of the Council of Ministers.
While Oli announced that he had support of 153 lawmakers, Deuba claimed he is backed by 149 lawmakers - adding up to a total of 302 lawmakers which comes across as misleading since the House of Representatives has only 275 seats.
The CPN-UML party led by Oli is the largest party with 121 seats in the 275-member House of Representatives. At present, 136 votes are needed to form a majority government. PTI MRJ AKJ MRJ