KATHMANDU: A politburo meeting of the CPN-UML started dwelling on the post-Constituent Assembly scenario, including the government’s constitutional status, party’s stand on federalism and the possibility of holding new elections on November 22.
The party has also scheduled its 17th central committee meeting fro Sunday to discuss the issues –– particularly those related to federalism, which has put the party in a fix. A section of party leaders of ethnic origin, including vice-chairman Ashok Rai, are accusing the party leadership of not being serious towards the sentiments of ethnic communities.
But the UML leadership has maintained that federal units be carved out on ethnicity basis would further invite complications in the Nepali society, and it would ultimately lead towards social tension.
UML secretary Shankar Pokharel said about half a dozen leaders, including Madhav Kumar Nepal and vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam, expressed their views on a report tabled at the meeting.
Nepal is learnt to have told the meeting that PM Baburam Bhattarai admitted that it was a mistake to announce the election date without consulting the UML and NC. “The Maoist intention is not to hold elections, but to impose authoritarian rule, which is not possible,” Pokharel quoted Nepal as saying. Other leaders who spoke in the meeting, suggested ways of addressing the issues raised by the ethnic communities.
Vice-chairman Ashok Rai, politburo members Prithvi Subba Gurung, Bijaya Subba and Ramchandra Jha, who are said to have prepared grounds for launching a separate ethnicity-based political outfit, were conspicuously absent in the politburo meeting, held for the first time after the dissolution of the CA.
Party sources said Rai is on a political tour to the eastern hills exploring possibilities of launching a new political outfit based on ethnicity. Rai, Prithvi Subba Gurung, Bijaya Subba, Kiran Gurung, Jha, Tham Maya Thapa, central committee member Rajendra Shrestha and UML CA member Pasang Sherpa are planning to launch an ethnicity-based political outfit, Communist Party of Nepal (Federalism).
“But they seem to have put their plans on hold for the time being after they failed to muster enough backing from within and outside the party,” a UML leader said, requesting anonymity. UML sources said they had even invited Nepali Congress former general secretary Kul Bahadur Gurung and approached some influential Maoist ethnic leaders to join the new outfit.
But they are yet to receive responses from ethnic leaders of both the NC and UCPN-Maoist and others outside party politics. Sources said UML leadership is maintaining silence and not making negative comments on their move, though it is well aware of their plans.
Party chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and senior UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal have held talks with the disgruntled ethnic leaders, assuring them that the party would take appropriate decision on issues of federalism.