Kathmandu, Oct 5: The crucial Constituent Assembly polls in Nepal are ''certain'' to be delayed, a senior minister said.
''Postponement of the Constituent Assembly poll is certain,'' Nepal's Minister for Peace and Reconstruction and General Secretary of the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) Ram Chandra Poudel said.
A meeting of the top leaders of the seven political parties yesterday decided to postpone the November 22 polls in the Himalayan nation after a meeting of the top political leaders failed to break the deadlock over the Maoists demand to adopt a proportional electoral system and declare the nation a republic by convening interim parliament.
''The government can't conduct the CA poll without the participation of the Maoists,'' Mr Poudel said.
Earlier, Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala held separate meetings with Maoist Chairman Prachanda and UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal to seek a consensus on holding the CA poll on the scheduled date.
''Prime Minister Koirala said the Constituent Assembly poll must be held on November 22 and he urged Maoist Chairman Prachanda not to change the previous agreement on a mixed electoral system and deciding the issue of monarchy through the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly,'' Mr Poudel was quoted as saying by Kantipur.
''The PM also urged the Maoist leadership to submit their close-lists tomorrow,'' he added. However, the Maoist Chairman said he would not submit the close-list tomorrow and would not let others do so either.
Terming the proportional electoral system as a means to establish a dictatorship of the political parties and end the right of individuals to contest elections, the NC leaders stuck to their stance on a mixed electoral system.
''How can we stop any individual who has not registered a party but is popular and wants to contest polls from doing so,''Home Minister and NC central leader Krishna Sitaula said.
During the formal meeting of seven parties, the Maoist Chairman proposed that the election process be stopped and demanded the Prime Minister call a special session of the Interim Parliament to discuss the issues of proclaiming a republic through the interim house and adopting a mixed electoral system.
''The election process should be stopped until the special session of the Interim Parliament takes decisions on these issues,'' Maoist spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara said.
UML General Secretary Nepal, however, strongly rejected the idea of stopping the election process and said the CA poll must be held as scheduled.