KATHMANDU, May 14: With daily meetings yielding no result, leaders of the major political parties have started blame game, indicting consensus on federal model is nowhere in sight.
As part of their daily chores, the top leaders of UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN UML and the United Democratic Madhes Front (UDMF) met at the secretariat of the Special Committee in New Baneshwor on Sunday to seek consensus on the federal model.
In a stark departures from the past when leaders maintained they were close to consensus, Sunday saw politicians emerging from the meeting blaming each other for the lack of progress.
“The way they presented themselves in the meeting showed they do not accept the very essence of federalism,” said Maoist Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha. “It seems they want the country to head for communalism and want to enjoy in that.”
Shrestha further accused the NC and CPN UML leaders of showing flexibility in talks in the morning and taking unflinching position during negotiation in the evening.
“They are doing so to avoid voting in the Constituent Assembly,” Shrestha said, “We find that the leaders who do not want to see the constitution drafted in time are now having their say prevail over ours.”
But NC and CPN UML leader begged to differ. They accused the Maoist leaders of being reluctant to other issues of constitution making and not acting responsibly to draft the constitution.
“The Maoists are not acting responsible,” said NC leader Ram Sharan Shrestha, “They are not ready to accept federalism based on identity and economic viability.”
He further said, “ They want us to share their premises to the people during the conflict time. Why shold we be part of their promises?”
The NC and UML leaders also took strong exception to Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s urge to Janajatis to take the streets to press the NC and UML leaders to agree on a single-identity based federalism.
“Such a comment from the chairman of a ruling party is objectionable,” said senior CPN UML leader KP Oli, who accused Dahal of trying to encourage communalism-related violence.
Maht too spoke in similar vein. “It is objectionable and irresponsible,” said Maht, “That is dishonesty on Dahal’s part.”
Ealier a decision of the Nepali Congress had raised the prospect of a consensus on a model of state restricting. The second largest party had decided in the afternoon that it can accept 11-province model if the Maoist party agreed to allow concerned provinces decide their names.
“As a way out to the present deadlock, we have decided to accept the 11 provinces at this crunch time and authorize concerned provinces to decide their names. Doing so will be the best democratic way. Federalism means empowering the provinces,” said NC leader Minendra Rijal.
Rijal said if the Maoist party agrees to authorize provinces to name themselves, the issue of federalism will be resolved.
During the meeting, NC and CPN UML leader had met separately to reinforce their common position on the mode of federalism. According to UML Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam, both the parties vowed to remain instance to press for parties vowed to remain united to press for eight provinces in the first instance and o accept eleven province only if the Maoist agrees to give common names to them.