RAM KUMAR KAMAT
KATHMANDU: Activists belonging to indigenous nationalities (janajatis) are set to announce a new political outfit tomorrow with the aim of creating a new alternative force and challenging the three major parties in the country — Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML.
The proposed name of the party is Social Democratic Plurinational Party, subject to alternation if the national convention of the outfit deemed so, said Chaitanya Subba, a member of the taskforce that prepared party statute and the election manifesto. “The new party will be formed on the basis of bottom-up approach, and local bodies will be constituted before the formation of the central leadership,” said Subba, adding that all this could take two-three months.
Indigenous leaders are seeking some more time before they formed the central leadership because they want the political scenario to be clear. “We want to launch the party in a way that could create the election wave in our favour,” said Krishna Bhattachan, another taskforce member.
Unlike major parties’ top-down approach, Bhattachan said ‘we are adopting the bottom-up approach and are also aware of not repeating the mistakes of other political parties that are plagued by factionalism, rifts and splits’. “The desire to be in power for long has also been a source of friction in major parties. We are considering a different system and want to limit the term of the leadership.”
Aware of the fact that championing the cause of indigenous nationalities alone might not be enough to establish them as a major force, the new party will propose to champion the cause of inclusion as well as social democracy. “Besides the issues of ethno-nationalism, we will make efforts to address socio-economic deprivation of people whether they belong to marginalised communities or the so-called upper cast groups,” said Aang Kaji Sherpa, General Secretary of the National Federation of Indigenous Nationalities.
Although indigenous parties like Rastriya Janamukti Party, Mangol National Organisation, Newar National Liberation Front, Nepal and Tamsaling Nepal National party were formed in the past, they have failed to woo their own communities. But still the campaigners of a new janajati party are undeterred.
“We have a good prospect of winning people’s support because major political parties have failed to address our concerns,” said Bhattachan, adding, “Never before polarisation between the marginalised and privileged communities was so intense.”
Prof Chaitanya Mishra said if the indigenous party to be formed championed solely the cause of their community, they might lose their relevance after one or two elections but if they address the cause of inclusion of all marginalised communities and concerns of the poor, they could emerge as a national force. Opening of a strong janajati party, Mishra added, can also put enormous pressure on the major political forces like the NC, UML and the UCPN-M to raise their issues which will be good to end inequality in society.