Baburam Bhattarai severs ties with UCPN-Maoist, resigns from Parliament also, to remain as independent citizen for now

KATHMANDU: Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai announced on Saturday that he has severed all ties with the UCPN-Maoist and given up the membership of Legislature-Parliament also.

Organising a press conference in New Baneshwor of Kathmandu this afternoon, the senior Maoist leader said that he has already informed the party chairman, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, about his decision to give up all responsibilities including the general membership of the UCPN-Maoist.

He was the second man of the former rebel party since Mohan Baidya quit the UCPN-Maoist to form the CPN-Maoist in 2012.

Bhattarai also said he has handed over the resignation from the Parliament to Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang today itself after quitting the party as he was elected to the Constituent Assembly/Parliament from on the UCPN-Maoist's ticket.

He further said he would remain as an independent citizen for the time being, advocate for 'progressive nationalism' and fight against 'fake nationalism'.

"I don't have any plan as such for what to do next. I am open. I am thinking of consulting the like-minded people in the parties and outside,"  he said. Responding to a query, he said he had not thought yet whether to form a new party or not.

Recalling his contribution in the constitution drafting process, Bhattarai, who was the chairman of the Constitutional-Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee of the Constituent Assembly II and was the prime minister when the Constituent Assembly was dissolved, said it was a matter of happiness that the Constituent Assembly promulgated the Constitution. The CPDCC was responsible to forge consensus on disputed constitutional issues among major political forces.

"But implementation of Constitution is a big thing," he added, pointing out the need for bringing the agitating parties on board the main political course.

Expressing his commitment to national sovereignty and integrity, inclusive and proportional democracy, prosperity, socialism for social justice and peace, and righteous conduct, Bhattarai said he was ready to extend his support as much as possible to solving the existing political problems and Nepal's economic prosperity.

The country should opt for new construction, he said, adding that he wanted to make contribution in rebuilding Nepal in the wake of devastating earthquake.

Saying that parties are medium only and not ultimate goals, Bhattarai reiterated that he would like to work in the field of economic development and prosperity of the country now.

My interests include political economy, development and reconstruction in the wake of earthquake, he stated, "I want to make contribution in economic development and prosperity."

Of late, his opinions regarding the Constitution were different from the party line. He had openly extended support to the Madhes-based parties for the ongoing agitation while his chairman, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, along with ruling parties Nepali Congress and CPN-UML was calling them for dialogue.

Bhattarai had voted in the Constituent Assembly for the new Constitution and taken part in its ultimate that promulgated the new charter. He, however, abstained from all celebration programmes. He had publicly stated that the time was not appropriate enough for merrymaking.

At the press conference also, Bhattarai said the constitution could not address aspirations of Madhesi and Tharu people.

He was of the opinion that there should be two provinces in the Tarai-Madhes region -- one in the east for the Madhesis and the other in the west for the Tharus.

Claiming that India had imposed an unannounced blockade on Nepal, the former premier, who earlier served as finance minister also, asked the government to take diplomatic initiatives to resolve the issue at the earliest.

"Before that, the agitation in Tarai-Madhes have to be addressed," he added.

He was elected to the Constituent Assembly, which doubled as Legislature-Parliament, from Gorkha Constituency-1.

He had served as the country's prime minister from August 2011 to March 2013, during the first Constituent Assembly.

No other members of the party, however, announced resignation at the conference.