KATHMANDU, May 26: With the clock ticking away and inter-party negotiations on issues of constitution writing entering a crucial and final stage, the CPN-UML has activated its powerful bodies, including the district committees to strictly instruct lawmakers to firmly stand in favor of the party´s official position.
A district committee meeting of the party in Kavre on Friday instructed the lawmakers from the district to firmly stand by the party´s official position. The district body issued such an instruction after finding lawmaker Sheela Katila from the same district of having joined the campaign for ethnic-based federalism.
Top UML leaders took strong exception to party lawmakers´ participation in the campaign for ethnic-based federalism, which is in line with the position taken by the UCPN (Maoist).
"The district committee meeting today has clearly instructed party lawmakers to stand by the party decisions," UML Kavre district committee Chairman Gokul Baskota told Republica. "Party membership of lawmakers breaching the party decision will be scrapped."
"How can a UML lawmaker submit an application to the UCPN (Maoist) chairman seeking action on agendas of state restructuring? Such lawmakers must make it clear which party they belong to," said Baskota.
Threat of action won´t deter me: Katila
However, lawmaker Katila asserted that she wouldn´t be deterred by "threat of action".
Stating that she has no intention at all to go against the party´s stated policy and decisions, she urged the party leaders not to react on the lawmakers´ initiatives for the cause of their communities.
"It is natural for dalits and women to raise their voices when a constitution is being written. The leaders should understand that we are not writing our party´s manifesto," she said. "I won´t budge from my conviction if the party doesn´t stand for the cause of marginalized communities."
Irrational activities by leadership: Subba
UML´s politburo member Prithivi Subba Gurung, who is also the head of the caucus of lawmakers representing various ethnic and indigenous communities, accused the UML leadership of resorting to irrational tactics to discourage the lawmakers from lobbying for identity-based provinces.
He said the UML leaders´ activities are likely to widen intra-party rift and compel party members and lawmakers to quit the party.
"The pressure tactic adopted by the party leadership will only harm the party and result in further divisions within the party," he said. "The leaders listen to the voices of oppressed communities and respond to them properly."
A party leader said the decision taken by the Kavre district committee is not a case in isolation. Several lawmakers involved in the campaign have formally as well as informally been pressed to stop lobbying for identity-based federalism.
Subba Gurung recently submitted a memorandum to Maoist Chairman Dahal demanding identity-based federalism. Altogether 320 lawmakers from ethnic, indigenous and Madhesi communities from various parties had signed the memorandum. Of them, 51 lawmakers were from UML alone. UML has 107 lawmakers in CA.