NSP-N mulls exiting left alliance

Kathmandu, Oct 12

Naya Shakti Party Nepal is considering exiting the left alliance following differences with alliance partners CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre over constituency sharing and candidate selection for the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections.

The differences arose after CPN-MC expressed reluctance to let NSP-N Coordinator Baburam Bhattarai contest the election from Gorkha Constituency No 2 and to dilute its 40 per cent seat share to allocate constituencies to NSP-N.

While announcing the left alliance on October 4, both UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and CPN-MC Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had said the alliance would first allocate seats to NSP-N and others who might join them and share the remaining seats on a 60:40 basis.

However, the CPN-MC now says since the NSP-N is contesting the election with the UML’s symbol ‘sun’, the seat allocation to NSP-N has to be done from the UML’s 60 per cent, according to NSP-N Parliamentary Affairs Department Head Keshav Dahal. “This is utter dishonesty,” he said.

Dahal said although the UML seemed to be somewhat flexible and had said it would work to address the issue, the CPN-MC was guided by the idea that ‘NSP-N Coordinator Baburam Bharratai, who betrayed the CPN-MC, couldn’t be given space’. “We sense that the CPN-MC leaders are guided by the notion of revenge,” said Dahal.

CPN-MC leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who is also preparing to contest the election from Gorkha-2, however, made it clear his party could not leave the constituency for Bhattarai. Stating it was not appropriate for a leader like Baburam Bhattarai to threaten to leave the alliance in its infancy, Shrestha said: “The alliance will make sure Bhattarai reaches the Parliament in a dignified way, but let him not claim Gorkha-2.”

Shrestha said the taskforce was working on constituency sharing and would come up with a decision soon. He also said the task force was presently focusing on the list of PR candidates.

The NSP-N is exploring two options in the event that the alliance refuses to address its demand. The first one is not filing candidacy for the upcoming elections and supporting the alliance from outside, and second, bowing to pressure from party workers and fielding rebel candidates.