HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Twenty political parties plus one independent leader from the dissolved Constituent Assembly today announced Federal Democratic Republic Alliance under Unified CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
The move is widely perceived as a bid to drive opposition parties, mainly the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML who are often labelled by the parties in FDRA as anti-federalist forces, into a corner and deter them from making moves to dislodge the current government.
At a press conference organised to announce the ‘federalists’ alliance’ today, Dahal chose his words carefully so as not to provoke the NC and UML, but the message was loud and clear. Dahal’s statement ‘if need be, this alliance could be transformed into an electoral force which would mobilise people for movements’ clearly suggested that the country’s politics is sharply polarised. It seemed quite paradoxical when Dahal invited the NC and UML, who have objected to ruling coalition partners’ move to form an alliance, to join. “The purpose of this alliance is to break the current political deadlock. We can do this only by addressing people’s aspirations for change,” said Dahal, leaving the moot question unanswered as to how forming a separate alliance could lead the parties towards consensus. Dahal, however, did make it clear that he felt the need of such an alliance because he ‘alone was unable to coax the NC and UML into forging consensus’ on contentious issues.
With NC and UML, who in the aftermath of the CA’s demise had formed their own alliance with parties in opposition to launch protests against the government, objecting to coalition partners’ recent move, country’s politics has now turned out to be a big puzzle in which parties are lost. It is yet to be seen whether the ‘federalists’ alliance’ helps parties achieve the Holy Grail of consensus or it simply becomes a move tantamount to flirting with disaster.
“The top leaders of NC and UML had agreed with us on 10-pradesh model and mixed names on the morning of May 27, raising hopes that we would get a new constitution, but as the day progressed, they fell into the trap of those in their own parties who are the proponents of unitary system. And they chickened out in the final moments,” said Dahal.
While he heaped praise on late Girija Prasad Koirala for his courage to usher in a new era in the country, Dahal criticised NC President Sushil Koirala for ‘acting irresponsibly’. “Sushil Koirala abandoned the negotiation table in the final moments on May 27. It was an irresponsible act on his part,” Dahal said.
He was of the view that formation of the federalists’ alliance could embolden federalist forces in NC and UML ‘to press the two parties to accept identity-based federalism’. Dahal said opposition parties’ demand to oust the prime minister was the major obstacle to consensus.
Cong, UML to stay away
KATHMANDU: Nepali Congress and CPN-UML on Wednesday said they would not join the Unified CPN-Maoist-led Federal Democratic Republican Alliance. “Their motive is clear: They want to prolong their stay in the government and fish in the troubled water after bringing conflict and chaos in the country in the name of federalism,” NC Spokesman Dilendra Prasad Badu told THT. “If the coalition partners honestly want to forge consensus, they should disband this alliance and sit for talks with us,” Badu added. CPN-UML Secretary Shankar Pokharel said, “Joining the alliance will not serve the true cause of federalism.”