Katmandu: Faced with an unparalleled constitutional crisis from midnight, Nepal's embattled Prime Minister Madhav Kumar on Friday fell prey to an e-mail hoax that said he was ready to quit within 48 hours if the opposition agreed to bail the nation out.
"I am ready to resign within two days to pave the way for a national unity government if the Maoist party agrees to cooperate to extend the tenure of the constituent assembly," said the hoax statement sent from an email address closely resembling that of the prime minister's press advisor.
The hoax statement was described as the address the prime minister was going to make in parliament during the day when it meets for a critical vote on its own fate as well as that of the government.
Even as the nation, living in fear of violence and chaos from midnight, heaved a sigh of relief, it was cut short by a denial issued by the Prime Minister's Office.
"The statement (about the PM's offer to resign) is erroneous and fictitious," the denial issued by the prime minister's press advisor Bishnu Rijal said. "I condemn the false propaganda."
The new twist now makes it clear that there will be no easy way out.
Nepal's 601-member house will now have to take a call on the government's bid to amend the constitution for the eighth time and extend the deadline for promulgating a new statute.
However, the amendment will be impossible unless the opposition Maoist party agrees.
The former guerrillas have been saying they will torpedo the move unless the prime minister resigns first.
If the amendment is not effected by midnight, parliament and the government will be dissolved automatically.
The only way the government can survive is by declaring a state of emergency, which will enable it to stay in power for six months more.