KATHMANDU, June 18: CPN-UML has reaffirmed its stance against ethnicity-based federalism and called for delineating and naming provinces on the basis of multiple ethnic communities and neutral identities.
The party has reinforced the idea in the political proposal to be presented by party chairman Jhalanath Khanal at the party´s national conclave scheduled to start Monday in Kathmandu. Over 500 party representatives are scheduled to participate in the two-day event.
UML decided to stand against ethnicity-based federalism even as some of the influential leaders of the party including Vice-Chairman Ashok Rai demanding ethnic-based federalism have threatened to quit the party if the demand is not met.
The document has vowed to oppose the idea of delinetating and naming provinces after the identity of any one particular ethnic community. As per the proposal floated by the UML leadership, the provinces should be named after two or more prominent ethnic communities and a neutral name, for instance, Bagmati-Newa-Tamsaling. But as per the model pushed by UML leaders from ethnic communities, provinces should be named after a single ethnic community such as Newa, Tamsaling, Magarat, Limbuwan etc.
The document has claimed that the party has been lobbying in favor of multi-ethnic provinces ever since the UML submitted the party´s proposal at the then CA´s thematic committee on state restructuring and distribution of state powers. "Though, at that time, we had not finalized our official position with regard to the number of provinces, nomenclature and delineation of provinces realizing the gravity of the issue," read the political proposal.
"During the talks held at Hattiban resorts [in April], our party had proposed a seven-province model based on identities of multiple ethnic communities," reads the paper. "Also, the Maoist leaders were positive about the idea and the meeting was concluded with an understanding to carve six to eight provinces."
According to the paper, the understanding was violated as the Maoists came up with a 10-province model based on single-ethnic identity.
"Then, our party´s standing committe had proposed two alternative models. The first was eight-province model based on multiethnic combinations and the other was 11-province model in which provinces would be named after neutral names," reads the proposal.
Calls for proactive role of president
For resolving the current political crisis, the UML has urged the president to play a proactive role. "The party urges the president in his capacity as guardian of the constitution to take constitutional initiative and proactive role to avoid possible confrontation and bring the country onto the constitutional path," said the party.
The party has accused the Maoists of trying to put undue pressure on the president and maneuvering to prolong the government´s term even after the head of state reminded the prime minister about the latter´s caretaker status. "So, it is necessary to foil the Maoist plot. For this also the president shouldn´t hesitate to exercise his constitutional role," said the party.
Ashok Rai, Lekhi flay Sherpa expulsion
CPN-UML Vice-Chairman Ashok Rai has demanded that the party correct its decision of expelling Ang Kaji Sherpa from the party. Sherpa is the general secretary of Nepal Federation of ndigenous Nationalities (Nefin).
A Standing Committee meeting of the UML Saturday had expelled Sherpa, the party´s Solukhumbu district committee assistant secretary, from the party, for making inflammatory remarks against the party leadership.
Issuing a statement, Rai described the action against Sherpa as the party´s bias against the activities intended to uplift the oppressed communities. "I urge the party to correct this decision immediately," said the statement issued in the name of Rai.
Meanwhile, Nefin Chairman Raj Kumar Lekhi also objected to the expulsion of Sherpa by CPN-UML.
Issuing a press statement Sunday, Lekhi said it is ´ridiculous´ that Sherpa has been axed from the party just for airing his personal views as general secretary of Nefin, stating that Nefin is neither a sister wing of UML nor has political affiliation with any party.
He has further alleged that UML is trying to meddle with Nefin.
Sherpa resigns from UML
CPN-UML leader Dandu Sherpa, who is also the treasurer of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), has resigned from the party expressing dissatisfaction over the party´s stance on issues raised by indigenous communities.
Sherpa put in his papers at party headquarters, Balkhu on Sunday. "I resigned as I would not be able to fight for the rights of indigenous people staying in the party," he told Republica.
Sherpa accused CPN-UML of being in favor of giving continuity to the existing unitary state structure and opposing ethnic-based federalism.
"The party´s opposition to ethnic-based federalism was also one of the reasons that led to the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly," said Sherpa, adding, "The party´s post-May 27 decisions have justified that the party is not in favor of recognizing the identities of indigenous peoples."
Sherpa resigned from CPN-UML a day after the party expelled assistant secretary of Solukhumbu district chapter Ang Kaji Sherpa, who is also the NEFIN general secretary.