RAM KUMAR KAMAT
KATHMANDU: The newly formed Federal Democratic Republic Alliance today offered an olive branch to the opposition parties, days after FDRA Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s threat to settle a score with opposition parties on the streets, talks of denying the Nepali Congress a chance to lead the next government and statement that the incumbent government would rule for another 25 years.
The ‘federalists’ alliance’ today decided to reach out to all the major stakeholders and hold an all-party political interaction on September 4 to ‘explore ways to resolve current political and constitutional crisis’.
After weeks of saber-rattling, the ruling parties made a peace offering today in a bid to dispel doubts of the NC and CPN-UML who view the formation of the new alliance as ruling parties’ attempt to polarise politics and continue their stay in the government.
The alliance’s meeting today, first since it was formed, has also mandated Dahal to immediately initiate dialogue with opposition parties to forge consensus, said Spokesperson for FDRA Prem Bahadur Singh.
Alliance partner Bishwendra Paswan said they felt the need to hold talks with all the stakeholders because it was high time they did something to shrink the trust deficit. “We can give new direction to the country if we sit and try to solve the current problems honestly,” said Paswan.
Ruling parties’ talks offer, however, doesn’t seem to have much effect on the opposition.
NC Spokesperson Dilendra Prasad Badu said the ruling parties’ motive was still doubtful. “The Unified CPN-Maoist scuttled the process to promulgate a new constitution on May 27 because they did not want to hand over power,” Badu reacted. He argued that the formation of a new consensus government, and not mere talks offer, could only restore the atmosphere of trust.
UML Secretary Bishnu Poudel said if the Maoists, who until other day were speaking the language of threat, have indeed realised that saber-rattling would not work and consensus was the only alternative, then the offer was a positive gesture. “But our past experience with the Maoists has not been very good,” said Poudel when asked how hopeful he was about FDRA’s call.
NC and UML have been continuously boycotting meetings called by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. The only time they sat for talks with the ruling parties was in the immediate aftermath of the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, but of late the ruling and opposition parties have not met even once.
Another alliance partner Laxman Lal Karna said FDRA’s effort to hold talks with all the stakeholders was a proof that the outfit was trying to forge consensus and not polarise politics.
FDRA also formed a nine-member Secretariat Committee under the chairmanship of Dahal.