Janajatis may work with 22-party alliance

- Roshan Sedhai, Kathmandu

Nov 18, 2014-

Janajati leaders have hinted at a possible ‘working alliance’ with the UCPN (Maoist)-led 22-party alliance provided the latter expressed ‘unreserved commitment’ to their demands, including the single identity-based federalism.

They, however, clarified that the newly announced Adivasi Janajati Rastriya Aandolan (Ajra) has no immediate plan to collaborate with political parties due to differing priorities and internal make-up of the two sides.

At a meeting with UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal at his residence on Tuesday, Ajra leaders asked Dahal to first clarify his position on agendas raised by Janajati communities to launch a joint protest.

Ajra leader Padma Ratna Tuladhar said they could join hands with the Dahal-led

alliance given that the latter extends an ‘unconditional’ support to Janajati issues.

“There are still some ambiguities about their priorities though they share common views on the identity. Besides, they lack a clear roadmap on how a political protest could help an identity-driven campaign like ours or vice versa,” said Tuladhar.

Sources say the Ajar leadership are under pressure to join hands with Dahal as many of the UCPN (Maoist) Janajati leaders, including Barshaman Pun, Ashok Rai, Kumar Lingden, Parshuram Tamang and Pasang Sherpa are also involved in the 22-party alliance.

But several Janajati leaders in the ruling parties—Nepali Congress and UML—and the CPN-Maoist outside the Constituent Assembly are against a coalition with the 22-party alliance.

IB Gurung from the NC and UML’s Prithvi Subba Gurung, who have joined the movement, were however absent at the announcement of the movement earlier this month.

The Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (Nefin) and its ethnic organisations are in favour of limiting the campaign to an identity campaign rather than a political movement.

“We are a loose alliance of 53 divergent political, ethnic and intellectual groups with a common agenda,” said Tuladhar.  Ajar leaders said a coalition with like-minded forces is likely if they support their position on the identity and federalism.

Janajati leaders have demanded to federate the country at least into 10 states guaranteeing autonomy, rights to self determination and priority rights in new constitution.

Om Gurung, Ajra spokesperson, said the Janajati movement is ready to work together with any political parties or other pressure groups that show solidarity with their agendas.

“We have mentioned that in our manifesto itself that we reciprocate support to any aandolan that upholds our agendas,” said Gurung.

He said Tuesday’s meeting with Dahal was held to familiarise the two sides with their agendas and priorities.

“An alliance is not a far-fetched thing as there are many similarities between us,” he said, underlining the need for mutual homework between two sides.

Published: 19-11-2014 09:12

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