CPN-uml election rally: Gautam says party’s position strongest

Kathmandu, August 31:

Standing committee member of the CPN-UML Bamdev Gautam today said there is no alternative to the November 22 constituent assembly election and that nobody can stop it from happening.

“Neither the Maoists nor the king can defer the election. More than 13,000 people have sacrificed their lives for the constituent assembly and it should be held as scheduled,” Gautam told the party’s first election rally at Baneshwor. He also claimed that the UML’s position across the country was the strongest among other parties and it was capable of building a new Nepal on its own strength.

He said the UML’s main rival in the polls will be “Nepal’s bourgeoise party” (Nepali Congress). “We, therefore, have to make an electoral alliance of democratic republican forces,” he said, adding that they would ask the people to vote for the party, which he said had the best policies and programmes.

“We will bring Madhav Nepal, GP Koirala, Prachanda, Sher Bahadur Deuba and Amik Serchan at a place and ask the people to choose one based on their election manifestos,” he said.

He also criticised the Maoists’ Young Communist League (YCL) for attacking his party leaders and cadres in Bhojpur and Kalikot districts, where the UML was holding election rallies.

“But we will not retaliate, we will defeat them with our thoughts and policies that we have adopted for a democratic republic,” he said, adding that the election should be fought on ideological grounds, not on money and muscle.

Another standing committee member of the party, Ishwor Pokharel, said the more the election was delayed, the more the monarchy would become stronger.

“Some of the parties are coming up with new conditions for the polls. The talk of deferring the polls is unacceptable to us,” he said. “When we proposed a referendum to decide the fate of monarchy before the polls, it was the Maoists, who opposed it. Now the Maoists are insisting on declaring the country a republic before the polls. This is strange,” Pokharel said.

The rally was also addressed by former president of Nepal bar Association Shambhu Thapa, women’s activist Sapana Pradhan Malla, president of the Nepalese Federation of Indigenous and Nationalities Pasang Sherpa and Raghubir Mahaseth, president of Nepal Loktantrik Manch.

Sherpa said the janajatis would not cast their votes for those parties who still believe in ceremonial monarchy. Party general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal could not address the rally due to ill health. Though he appeared on stage for sometime, he left the venue without addressing the gathering. The UML also formally begun its poll campaign in Morang district today.

At an interaction held by the UML’s district chapter, party central committee member Bharat Mohan Adhikari said the party has launched its formal campaign from today. Adhikari said that the UML would go to extremes to preserve the unity of the eight-party alliance. He added that the UML was for an end to the monarchy, state reconstruction and an inclusive democracy. “Until the polls take place, the dangers clouding the political, social and economic firmament of the country will not clear,” he said.

Adhikari said the party has formed a 1,005-member committee under the coordination of Morang district secretary Naresh Pokhrel for the campaign in the district. The party’s district secretariat has drawn up poll strategy for the nine constituencies.

The UML-affiliated ANNFSU has also formed a 105-member panel for the poll campaign.