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NC, UML face friction from party leaders

KATHMANDU: Three days on after the Constituent Assembly (CA) dissolved, second and third lead political parties Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, are now frantically mobilizing all their resources to keep their parties intact.

Most of the party members affiliated with the Janajati and Madheshi communities, have warned party leadership to split away from the party. However demands for not splitting away from the party is different in both parties.

While in UML the demand is that the party leadership should accept a policy that embraces the hardships of Janajatis, Madheshis, Muslims and backward communities, in congress the story is a bit different.

Most of the leaders in Congress have demanded that the party leadership at the central level resolve the differences between them and head for the villages unitedly. The split, that we are talking about is related to the split between party president Sushil Koirala and senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba.

But before we talk about Congress, the issue at UML is more grave and serious, given the recent the split talk about janajati lawmakers from the party.
Take it, and seriously telling, condition within UML is more serious, than I sound to you. A source within the party has claimed some eight leaders belonging to Janajati politics are presently working on the concept paper to open a new party.

The reason for their splitting away from their party is none other than that the party leadership deviated from the issues of Janajati, madheshis, muslims and other backward communities and castes.

The source, who is also one of the dissident leaders affiliated to the Janjati caucus of the dissolved Constituent Assembly, claimed that they (Janjati leaders) were compelled to part away from the party after the latter deceived them (Janajatis) in the recent bargain over ethnic federalism with other parties and ultimately sacrificed the CA.

Claiming that their new party will vie for the rights of their communities, janajati leaders affiliated to UML are planning to abandon the party in lump sum. Ashok Rai, who is presently the Vice Chairman of the party, will be leading the new party, we are talking about.

Though this talks are in air for some time now, and though some of these janjati leaders held separate discussions with party leaderships in a Thamel based hotel on Tuesday, Rai, himself dispelled split talks while conceding that bargain with party leadership were still on to secure the rights of their communities in the new manifesto of the party.

Rai is presently busy in assessing the aspirations of district level cadres and informed that he will return to the capital in some days. Though he denied any planning in splitting the party in that direction, given the recent friction within the party over the Janjati issue, Rai is sure to have hard time between the Janjati extremists and the middle way finders.

Alternative Politburo member of the party Bijay Subba, who is supposed to be close with Rai, informed that they have not yet decided about the party’s name while conceding that the name will be based on federal republic Nepal.

Moreover, Subba informed that the party in talk will have members from the Brahmin and Chettri communities as well and will reiterating that they have escalated effort to open up the new party considering the upcoming CA elections on November 22.

” We are deserting the party,” Subba said adding, “we remained with the party expecting that the leadership will implement its working plan endorsed by the 8th general assembly ( progressive restructuring of the state). But as the party repeatedly worked against the spirit, there is no point in retaining party’s membership.”

Subba even went further and claimed that the UML had betrayed their forty-years loyalty by not giving in to their demands of identity when it come to the issue of federalism. ” Now we have concluded that there is no point in positing out faith in this party,” said Subba.

However another leader from the Janajati caucus, Mangal Sidhi Manandhar, said that he was presently in “wait and see mode”. He also maintained that the party “certainly has deviated from its policy. Its policy is one and its actions are another,” said Manandhar.

” If these circumstance persists, that we cannot rule out the possibility of opening of a new party,” said Manadhar while warning that he too will resign from the party if the party leadership maintains status quo on the issue.

Along with Manandhar, ex lawmaker Hit Kaji Gurung, Ram Chandra Jha, Kiran Gurung, Pasang Sherpa, Prithvi Subba Gurung, Rijwan Thakur, Bir Bahadur Lama, Tham Maya Thapa, Dal Bahadur Rana, Hit Kaji Gurung among others have recently intensified efforts to bring the new party into shape.

But in Congress, the turmoil is different from that of UML, but it is same to that was before CA was dissolved. Though the party was the second largest party in the erstwhile CA, party president Sushil Koirala and senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba had rarely sat together to discuss party’s policy and stance and ultimately were without any commons plans when it was done so.

Former lawmakers associated with the party, have warned party leadership that they won’t head for the villages, as directed by the party’s recent central committee meeting, unless Koirala and Deuba resolved internal differences.

CC member Dhan Raj Gurung informed that most of the lawmakers had informed the party leadership of the their decision during the discussion. ” Most of the party’s former lawmakers informed party leadership that appropriate conditions would not be formulated unless the party leadership was united at the central level,” Gurung informed.

Party leaders and former lawmakers had furnished such a demand following orders from the party leadership to head for villages and garner public support in party’s favor on Thursday.

Actually, Koirala and Deuba had bee confronting each other after the earlier dissolved party’s sister organizations, which according to critics was dominated by Deuba faction leaders. Since than both leaders are at odds with each other and had not even held joint discussions even before the CA was dissolved.

Former lawmaker of the party Mahendra Yadav informed that they had urged the party leadership to unite party at the central level claiming that going to villages won’t bear fruits unless the party was united.
During the discussions, Koirala who until recently never talked about foreign influence on Nepal’s politics, claimed that the CA was dissolved due  to direct influence of exogenous forces to the lawmakers.

While he gave directions to lawmakers to garner support for the party, Koirala said that the new CA elections were just possibility and not a reality.

” CA élections will be or won’t be held. But conditions can arise when CA elections will be held at any time, so it is time that we head for the villages and strengthen our party,” a source quoted Koirala as stating in the meeting.
While informing party leaders that the party was vying to garner national consensus, Koirala had informed party leaders to remain prepared for facing new CA elections, if they happen.

Published Date: Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 | 07:59 AM

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