24 UML district chiefs press leadership for multiple-identity
THIRA L BHUSAL
KATHMANDU, June 12: CPN-UML chiefs from some 24 districts have pressed the party leadership to stand for state restructuring based on multiple identity.
The party’s district chiefs from Madhesi and ethnic communities have argued that the intra-party dispute over policy on state restructuring will be resolved once the party leadership is ready to go for multiple identity-based federalism.
Some two dozen district chiefs representing Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities have gathered in Kathmandu after a group of influential UML leaders including party Vice-chairman Ashok Rai and Politburo Members Prithivi Subba Gurung, Ram Chandra Jha and Bijay Subba threatened to quit the party if the leadership remained reluctant over ethnicity-based federalism.
The UML district chiefs claimed that the party leadership’s failure to set out a clear official position on the crucial agenda was the major reason for the present crisis in the party.
They said the party leadership must admit its failing in this regard. “Against this backdrop, we demand that the party leaders stand in favor of delineation and naming provinces on the basis of multiple identities and make public the party’s official policy accordingly,” said a letter submitted by the district chiefs to the party Standing Committee. Sherdhan Rai, district chief of Bhojpur, led the delegation and handed over the letter to Chairman Jhalanath Khanal in the presence of other top leaders, at the party office at Balkhu, Monday.
Pressing the party leadership to resolve the matter, the district leaders urged the dissident leaders from Madhesi and ethnic communities including Vice-chairman Rai to attend party meetings, hold a dialogue with the leadership and lobby for their cause through party mechanisms instead of making their differences public through media or public forums.
Sherdhan Rai, who led the campaign, said the way the dissident leaders were openly criticizing the party leadership was disgraceful and against party discipline. “We want both sides -- party leadership and dissident leaders-- to restraint themselves,” Rai told Republica.
Dissident leaders feel insecure in UML
The dissident leaders, speaking through the district chiefs, have expressed feelings of insecurity within the party. The disgruntled group has demanded that the party leadership be ready to reinstate the Constituent Assembly and ensure that the party will not take any action against those who lobbied in favor of ethnicity-based federalism. “In view of these demands we urge the party leaders to talk to the dissident leaders,” Rai said. “So far, we have held separate meetings with both sides. Now, we plan face-to-face talks between the two sides.”
Rai said the party’s recent decision to remove party leader Rajendra Shrestha as the party’s Valley chief was untimely and it would further spoil the atmosphere between the party leadership and the disgruntled group.
After several rounds of discussions with both sides Sherdhan Rai found that there was no big difference between the dissident group’s demand and the party leaders’ position. “It is not irreconcilable because the party leaders have already made up their minds to go for multiple-identity based federalism,” he said.