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Nepal parties stare at splits, dissension

Utpal Parashar (HT) KATHMANDU: Dissolution of the Constituent Assembly on May 27 for failure to promulgate a new constitution and announcement of fresh polls has had a negative impact on political parties in Nepal.

Eager to secure votes from their respective constituencies, factions within the ruling and major opposition parties are openly voicing dissent or threatening splits.The development comes at a time when uncertainty looms over future of the government and speculations abound on what would be the future course for the nation.

Nine leaders of Madhesi Peoples’ Rights Forum (Democratic), the second biggest party in the ruling Maoist-Madhesi government, resigned from the outfit on Sunday.

Unhappiness with party chief and Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachchadar’s digression from Madhes (the region in Terai) issues was stated to be the reason for their exit.

“Our party has a democratic name, but in reality it is ruled by the whims of Gachchadar who is willing to sacrifice our cause to remain in power,” said dissident Pramod Gupta at a press conference.

The leaders who were facing disciplinary action for anti-party activities are likely to join Sarat Singh Bhandari, another leader expelled recently, and form a new party.

A split in the Maoists also looks imminent with senior vice-chairman Mohan Baidya announcing possibility of forming a new party.

The hardliner blames Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai of straying from the party’s cause and is demanding the government’s removal.

Baidya’s faction wants to start another ‘peoples’ revolution’ and is expected to launch a new party on June 15. On Sunday, he refused an offer from Dahal to sit for talks.

“Dahal and his faction have been sowing seeds of division while talking about party unity,” Baidya was quoted by Republica on Monday.

The scenario is not better in the opposition camp. Several influential leaders of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) have launched a campaign against the party leadership.

Disgruntled with the party opposing creation of states based on single ethnic identities, these leaders from indigenous communities, Madhes and Dalit sections could desert CPN (UML) soon.

Tough the problem is not as severe in Nepali Congress the party is also battling similar problems. There’s also difference between President Sushil Koirala and senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba over power-sharing.

Both NC and CPN (UML) have launched a campaign along with 25 other opposition parties to oust the Bhattarai government for its ‘unconstitutional’ move of announcing fresh elections in November.

The present crisis is also fallout of differences among parties over restructuring of the country into federal units. While Maoists and Madhesis want new states to be formed on basis of single ethnicity, NC and CPN (UML) want them based on multiple-ethnicity.

With Bhattarai refusing to leave office and most opposition parties expressing unwillingness to take part in fresh elections consensus seems elusive—for the time being.

The solution as suggested by some leaders and political experts is either to revive the CA for a short tenure to draft the constitution or conduct fresh elections under a national unity government comprising all parties.

Published Date: Monday, June 11th, 2012 | 03:15 AM

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