Oppn forms team ‘to deal with NC, UML’

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Apr 24, 2015-

In an indication of mending rift in the alliance, leaders of the UCPN (Maoist)-led 30-party opposition bloc have reached an understanding to form a task force to deal with the ruling parties on constitution-writing.

The team under Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara will take its shape when the meeting of the alliance scheduled for Tuesday inducts members from the Madhesi and Janajati parties. Friday’s was the first meeting of the parties after they withdrew their street protests two weeks ago.

The idea to form the panel comprising key leaders from the opposition parties was floated after the Tarai-based and other regional parties that are for identity as the basis for federating the country doubted Maoist commitment to federalism.

Madhes-based parties fear that the main opposition could join hands with the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML by abandoning the agenda of Madhes. “We want to seriously review the working style of the alliance leadership and decide the future course,” Sadbhawna Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato said after the meeting.

Madhes-based and Janajati leaders were miffed at the Maoists after media reports that the heads of the NC, the UML and the third largest party agreed to draft the new constitution putting aside federalism, the key dispute, before Prime Minister Sushil Koirala left for Indonesia earlier this week.

In recent meetings with the two largest parties, the Maoists have hinted at allowing the constitution drafting process by incorporating the issues resolved so far into a draft and continuing talks for consensus on federalism. Additionally, the Maoist party has floated an option of federating the country into eight states if other parties agree to mandate the provincial assemblies to name the states.

As the meeting started on Friday, leaders from Madhes-centric and other fringe parties criticised alliance leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal for withdrawing the three-day general strike after enforcing it for a day. Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav, Federal Socialist Party Nepal head Ashok Rai and SP chief Mahato, among others, expressed doubt whether the alliance leadership will fight for the rights of Madhesis and Janajatis.

“Withdrawing the general strike halfway was not good. And we don’t want a constitution without federalism,” said Hridayesh Tripathi of Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party.

Following severe criticism from partners, Maoist chief Dahal tried to convince them saying that he had not made any agreement with the ruling parties so far. Dahal also promised to move ahead as per the allies’ collective decision while completing the constitution writing process.

The leaders later agreed to form the task force and formulate a new code of conduct for dialogue with the ruling parties. Madhesi leaders said they would disown any understanding that the Maoist party may potentially have reached with the ruling parties. “Any commitment or decision on constitution reached with the Congress and the UML would be a purely Maoist decision, not of the alliance,” said Tripathi.


Published: 25-04-2015 08:41

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