Third front likely, says NC-D leader

New Delhi, July 5:

If the Nepali Congress and NC-Democratic don’t unite by July 31, a third front will be launched representing the common sentiment of Madhesi and Pahadi people, according to Arjun Thapa, NC(-D) leader.

Thapa, who has twice contested the elections on NC tickets, told this daily he was busy giving shape to the idea. NC-D leader Bijay Kumar Gachhadar is engaged in homework for the front, said Thapa.

Leaders and cadres of the two Congresses, CPN-UML, and Maoists are involved in working out the feasibility of the third front. The front will include Gachhadar, former minister Jayaprakash Gupta, Hridayesh Tripathi of the Sadbhawana Party, Bharat Bimal Yadav and Khemraj Bhatta Mayalu, Sharad Singh Bhandari, Keshav Kumar Budhathoki, Bimalendra Nidhi and Pradip Giri of the NC-D. From the UML side, Mahendra Roy and others will join the front. Thapa said the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum also was likely to join the front.

Asked how he would surmount the problem of contesting the coming constituent assembly poll when the date for registration of new parties had lapsed, Thapa countered that the MJF was already a registered party. In the Terai, it will draw on the sentiments of Madhesis and Pahadis alike to notch up a good tally. Thapa said the front would aim at emerging as a regional political force and that it would approach the CA poll in the style of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati.

“We will wait till July 31 for the unification, “ Thapa said, adding that in case the unification does happen , he and his associates will hold a press conference in Kathmandu and announce the launch of the front. He added that the UML and Maoists hold sway in the hills. If the front is able to glean the alliance of Janajatis in the hills, it can effectively counter these two parties. Of the 240 seats in parliament, the front can scoop up over 116 seats if it goes according to an effective vote-catching strategy of garnering the support of Madhesi and Pahadi parties.

Asked if wouldn’t his and other leaders’ departure from NC-D weaken the party, Thapa said they wanted the unification of the Congresses and a strong leadership of the united party.