new political force

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Bhattarai is campaigning to form a new political party that will be guided by Marxist ideology to attain socialist goals

Nov 19, 2015-Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s “new political force” is likely to be dominated by former UCPN (Maoist) leaders after his earlier plan to include civil society leaders, intellectuals, businessmen and apolitical people did not succeed. Bhattarai is organising a national gathering of his supporters on November 22 and 23 in order to chalk out policy and programme for forming a new party. Representatives of all 75 districts will take part in the meeting. 

Those representatives, according to leaders, are not “fresh faces” but former leaders and cadres of the UCPN (M) who left the party with Bhattarai. After he quit the party, Bhattarai held consultation with civil society members, intellectuals and people from various sectors to convince them to join his new party. According to insiders, they have turned down requests to join the party for now. Similarly, Bhattarai’s supporters pressed him not to provide any powerful positions to non-partisan people. 

According to Kumar Poudel, a leader close to Bhattarai, consultations are under way with the people from various walks of life to bring them into the party. He, however, said it is not sure whether these people could work as leader and cadre of the new party. Bhattarai has already prepared party’s informal organisational structures. 

The party has allocated some key responsibilities to its leaders. Devendra Poudel has been entrusted with the responsibility as head of the organisational department, while Hishila Yami has been appointed head of international bureau. Kumar Poudel will look after party’s sister organisations and Ram Kumar Sharma will head the party’s ethnic department. 

Supporters of Bhattarai still believe that leaders from the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the UCPN (Maoist) will join the new political force. Bhattarai has been arguing that the current party and leadership cannot deal with the crisis facing the country today. He maintains that the country needs a visionary party to expedite development and economic prosperity. The new party will be guided by Marxist ideology to attain socialist goals, according to leaders. 

Bhattarai is believed to be trying to rope in youth leaders of the NC and the UML like Rabindra Adhikari, Ghanashyam Bhusal, Gagan Thapa and Chandra Bhandari, among others. But having been tested as country’s prime minister and leader of a party, those leaders have little hope that his new force will serve as a pill for country’s ill.  

UML’s Adhikari said Bhattarai invited a crisis in the country in the name of a new political force. “He is merely forming a new party in order to fulfil his personal ambition, I cannot think of joining him,” he said. 

NC leader Gagan Thapa, pointing to basic ideological differences with Bhattarai, ruled out the possibility of him joining Bhattarai’s new force. He, however, said arrival of new political forces cannot be ruled out. “In 1993, UML emerged as a new political force and UCPN (M) emerged as a new political force in 2008. Similarly, Madhes-based parties also emerged as new political force,” Thapa said. “However, I will remain in the NC and will work to make it larger and vibrant.” Bhattarai is also holding consultations with celebrities from non-political sectors to draw their support in the new political force. Anil Keshari Shah, chief executive of Megha Bank, is one of the names frequently linked with the former PM. He shares Bhattarai’s thought that the country needs a new political force with a new vision and thinking for the implementation of the new constitution. But Shah brushed off suggestions that he was joining Bhattarai’s new party.

“I often share my views and opinion with Baburam Bhattarai and I am ready to do the same with NC, UML and other parties. But it is not true that I am joining his new political force,” Shah said.  

UCPN (M) leaders, however, accuse Bhattarai of splitting the party and drumming up support for his new political force “on the advice of foreign forces” which he vehemently denies. Several parliamentarians close to Bhattarai are still with the UCPN (Maoist). Bhattarai, who recently termed the party “a cracked house”, has asked them to stay put with a fear of losing the position of lawmaker. 

Published: 19-11-2015 09:40

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