UML dissidents press single-identity model, CA revival
KATHMANDU, June 13: The dissident Janjati and Madhesi leaders of the CPN-UML party, who have been publicly opposing the party´s position on federalism, have now formally registered their dissenting views in the party and demanded that the party leadership stand for a single identity-based federal model and reinstatement of the Constituent Assembly (CA).
Putting forth their demands in the form of a memorandum to the party leadership on Tuesday, the Madheis and Janjati leaders, who have been boycotting party meetings and shunning their responsibilities in recent weeks, have also demanded public self-criticism by the party leadership. Self-criticism in a communist party is considered a form of punishment.
They have held the party leadership responsible for the dissolution of the CA without drafting a new constitution.
A group of Janjati and Madhesi leaders led by Vice-chairman Ashok Rai registered their dissenting views, handing over an 18-page memorandum to party Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal at party headquarters, Balkhu, in Kathmandu Tuesday.
"We have clearly told the leadership that we would not be able to continue in the party if our demands are not addressed," said Central Committee Member Rakam Chemjong, who accompanied Rai while registering their dissenting views with the party.
In the memorandum on behalf of the disgruntled leaders, Rai has accused the party leadership of undermining the people´s aspirations for a federalism that upholds the identity of the indigenous, oppressed and downtrodden when it stood against identity-based federalism.
He has also claimed that the CPN-UML was responsible for the present political crisis facing the country and asked the party to correct its policy relating to Janjati, Madhesi, Dalit, Muslim and other minority groups.
In addition, Rai has accused the party leadership of deviating from commitments with regard to identity-based federalism made in various decisions and manifestos.
"Are these commitments of the CPN-UML made just to solicit votes [during election]? Does the party not have any responsibility or accountability toward those commitments after the election?", Rai has said in the memorandum.
While demanding that the leadership opt for single identity-based federalism, the disgruntled leaders have made it clear that there would be no discrimination against people of any caste/ethnicity in the provinces even if these uphold the identity of a particular ethnic group.
Party Secretary Shankar Pokharel told Republica that the party would study their demand and take appropriate decisions.
"The party will take appropriate decisions on their demands and ask them to adhere to such decisions. If they do not agree to the party´s decisions, they can press ahead with their dissenting opinion," said Pokharel when asked what the party would do about their demands.
According to Pokharel, the chairman asked the disgruntled leaders to return to party work and put forward their dissenting views within the party.
"He directed them not to voice any opinions or express views against the party," Pokharel further said about the chairman´s reaction to the demands of the disgruntled leaders.
On their demand for reinstatement of the Constituent Assembly, Khanal told them that the party was open to any option to move the country forward if the parties reach consensus, according to Pokharel.
Khanal also asked the Janjati and indigenous leaders to attend the national gathering of the party scheduled for next week and put forth their dissenting views there. The meeting is expected to come up with the party´s stance on federalism and other political issues.
But a disgruntled leader told Republica that they are yet to decide whether to attend the meeting or not.
"We will take an appropriate decision and it depends on how the leadership takes our demands," the leader said, preferring anonymity.