UML national conclave starts; dissidents faction boycott
THIRA L BHUSAL
KATHMANDU, June 19: CPN-UML´s national conclave started in Kathmandu Monday amid boycott by some influential leaders from Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities including the party´s Vice-Chairman Ashok Rai demanding single identity based federal states.
But as the conclave began, there are clear indications of hardening the party´s position against the federal model based on the identity of a single ethnic community.
The party Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel, addressing the inaugural session of the conclave, announced that the party was not going to accept the single-ethnicity-based federal model and vowed to fight against it.
Political proposal presented by the party chairman reaffirmed its stance to recognize identities of multiple ethnic communities while carving out provinces.
It also claimed the party has been advocating multi-ethnic provinces and against granting preferential political rights to any specific social community ever since the party submitted its official concept on state restructuring to the thematic committee of Constituent Assembly (CA) two years ago.
The party argued it was for provinces based on the suggestions offered by a high-level commission on state restructuring rather than deciding on such a serious issue based on the conclusion of a specific political party.
However, the party has undergone self-criticism for the consequences caused by the party´s indecisiveness for long.
"The party rank and file was left in confusion and they formed differing views on the issue of state restructuring. Therefore, the party center [leadership] has realized the mistake for the confusion and the problems caused due to the party´s failure to take an appropriate and official decision in time," read the paper.
Also, Khanal confessed the mistake. "As a party chairman I myself realize the mistake," said Khanal. "But I want to make it clear that the UML was never for a single-identity-based federalism and will never accept it."
Meanwhile, the dissident faction led by Vice-Chairman Ashok Rai, which has boycotted the two-day event, have put forward four-point demand.
"The party must take an appropriate decision in regard to our views on present crisis immediately," read the first point. They also demanded that the nine-point demand submitted by the group be allowed to be tabled at the party´s national conclave.
Also, they demanded that the party withdraw its decision to expel Solukhumbu district chapter´s Assistant Secretary Angkaji Sherpa, who is also the general secretary of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities from the party.
"We have decided to boycott the national conclave and other programs in future if our demands are not addressed," said the statement issued in the name of Ashok Rai.