Groups register differing views against the proposal
KATHMANDU, June 24 : The Central Committee (CC) meeting of CPN-UML, which was convened with an objective to formulate the party´s official policy on state restructuring, concluded late evening on Friday but failed to forge consensus among the CC members on determining the party´s official view on federalism.
Though the majority of the CC meeting endorsed the standing committee´s proposal to delineate the country into seven provinces based on multiethnic and neutral names, a substantial number registered their differing views on the decision to endorse the proposal.
The proposed provinces are Kirant-Limbuwan-Koshi, Tamsaling-Newa-Bagmati, Magarat-Tamuwan-Gandaki, Bheri-Karnali, Seti-Mahakali, Tharuhat-Awadh-Lumbini and Mithila-Bhojpura-Janakpur.
But a group of leaders including Bhim Rawal, Raghuji Panta, Khagaraj Adhikari, Beduram Bhusal, Guru Baral, Rameshwar Phuyal, Karna Thapa and Jagannath Khatiwada registered their dissent saying that the provinces should be named after neutral identities such as Bagmati, Sagarmatha and Lumbini.
They stood against the proposal arguing that delineation and nomenclature of provinces on the basis of ethnic identity would sow the seeds of racial as well as sectarian conflict in the society.
Rawal said that they stood against the proposal arguing that such a model would lead the country to a never-ending conflict given the social diversity. "Around 118 ethnic communities and around 103 linguistic groups exist in our society. So we must take the neutral identities as main basis for delineating and naming provinces," Rawal told Republica.
Some of the members in the group claimed that a resounding majority of the CC members, who aired their views at the meeting, were for naming provinces after neutral names. "But later they didn´t strongly object to the idea as the party chairman and other top leaders urged everyone to agree on the model," said a leader preferring anonymity. "The leaders persuaded some of the CC members arguing that everyone will be free to discuss other options as well."
According to a member, those who are lobbying for neutral names are preparing a document explaining their arguments in detail and are planning to register it at the party´s secretariat. "A large number of members in our central committee are very much convinced that the seven-province proposal is not a genuine solution," said a leader. "We decided to register this view because the number of members who are for neutral identity is ever increasing in our party."
Similarly, another group urged the leaders not to take any decision in haste without winning the confidence of the dissident leaders from Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities.
Surendra Pandey, Gokarna Bista, Mukunda Neupane, Shri Prasad Sah, Bisham Lal Adhikari Danuwar, Mamata Giri, Lalbabu Pandit, Garima Shah, Arun Nepal, Shatrunghna Mahato and Ram Chandra Sah were among those who pressed the top leaders to take the dissident groups into confidence before finalizing any model on state restructuring. A leader informed that they registered their differing views in voice record and may come up in group to record it in writing in near future.
The party´s vice-chairman Ashok Rai and other leaders including Prithvi Subba Gurung, Bijay Subba, Ram Chandra Jha and Rajendra Shrestha have been boycotting party meetings demanding that the party leadership should accept ethnicity-based federal model.
"There is no point in endorsing this model in haste because this proposal could satisfy none of the groups. There is a possibility that it may further irritate the dissident group," a participant quoted Gokarna Bista as saying at the meeting.
This group strongly pressed the leadership that the party lobby for CA reinstatement instead of taking to the street demanding resignation of the prime minister and the party´s participation in new coalition.
They were for reinstating the CA for around one month just for promulgating the new constitution. The leaders said after that the CA can be transformed into an interim parliament until the fresh polls are conducted.
Similarly, Puspa Kandel, who is the head of the party´s central commission on auditing, argued that the idea of federalism itself is against the national interest. Some CC members including Karna Thapa backed his idea.
Some of the members argued that had the party leaders put the proposal to voting, majority of the members would have rejected the proposal. "Sensing the result the leaders avoided voting," said a member.