Rift surfaces in Federal Alliance

Kathmandu, September 5

Co-chair of Sadbhawana Party Laxman Lal Karna, who was named coordinator of a committee formed to draft amendments to the constitution by the Federal Alliance yesterday, said he was not consulted by the alliance regarding the same.

The committee was formed by a meeting headed by Upendra Yadav, Chair of FA Movement Mobilisation Committee.

Karna told THT that the FA neither consulted him nor his party before naming him the coordinator of the committee. “How can I accept the offer when my party has not been consulted for the same,” Karna said when asked if he would join the committee and play the expected role in the panel.

Karna also said formation of the committee was meaningless as the government had not done anything on the constitutional amendment issue yet.

Another member of the committee, Brikhesh Chandra Lal, who is also a vice-chair of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party, also said that he was not consulted by the alliance. “The agitating forces have already put forth their 11-point and 26-point demands to the government and there is no need for such a committee to work on issues of constitution amendments,” Lal said.

“We are not going to accept anything less or demand anything more than what we have stated in our 11-point and 26- point demand,” he added. The UDMF and the FA had put forth 11-point and 26-point demands, respectively.

General Secretary of National Madhes Socialist Party Keshav Jha, who is also a member of the newly-formed committee, said the controversy over formation of the committee was uncalled for. Jha said the four constituent parties, including the SP and the Tarai Madhes Democratic Party, did not attend the meeting yesterday.

“Whenever a crucial decision like this is taken by the FA, the SP and the TMDP oppose in the name of UDMF. They want sole credit for the UDMF but how can the front carry the voice of indigenous nationalities?” he wondered.

Senior leader of Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party-Nepal Ram Naresh Ray, who is also a member of the committee, also defended Yadav’s decision to form the committee. Yadav could not be contracted for comments.

Ray said the 11-point and 26-point demands were political demands and it was necessary on the part of the agitating forces to prepare a legal draft to ensure the constitutional amendment that they were looking for in the new constitution. Ray said he wanted the committee to prepare a draft soon.

A Madhesi source said on condition of anonymity that people of ethnic fronts, who would represent in the committee, could complicate the process of forging consensus among the agitating forces on matters of constitutional amendments.