NC district chiefs press party for stir to oust govt
KOSH RAJ KOIRALA/DHRUBA DANGAL
BAHRABISE (SINDHUPALCHOWK), July 31: Arguing that caretaker Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai won’t step down on his own, Nepali Congress (NC) district committee presidents have urged the party leadership to unveil a program of stringent protests to oust him from the government.
Addressing a closed session of the two-day national gathering of NC district presidents that began in Barhabise Monday, the district presidents suggested that the party decide to go for fresh parliamentary elections under an NC-led national consensus government. They maintained that the 240-member elected parliament should function as the Constituent Assembly (CA) until a new constitution is promulgated.
Talking to Republica, Dhading District Committee President Ram Nath Adhikari said all 20 district presidents speaking on Monday demanded that the party launch stringent protests to oust the current government, which they said is trying to impose authoritarian rule.
“It’s good that the party has made overtures for talks. But most district presidents have reminded the party leadership that the Bhattarai-led government won’t step down on its own,” he said.
Adhikari argued that since the current government already lost its legitimacy after the Election Commission (EC) declared that the November 22 polls were impossible, it should go immediately to pave the way for a national consensus government.
The district presidents have urged the party Central Working Committee to announce the name of a new prime minister for a national consensus government and take a formal decision to go for parliamentary elections. “There is a demand from all district presidents to come up with a clear roadmap for the party to resolve the current political deadlock,” said NC CWC member Gagan Thapa, who was present at the closed session.
As suggested by the district presidents, the NC, under its new roadmap, should announce that all amendments to the Interim Constitution for holding fresh elections should be effected by a national consensus government formed after ousting the current Bhattarai-led government. “All those speaking at the gathering today seemed confident that the NC would do better in fresh elections,” Thapa further said.
Leaders participating in the meeting said the district presidents are in favor of the party making necessary preparations for mass protests and giving continuity to talks with other parties till August.
The district presidents have asked the party leadership to maintain strong unity within the party. Referring to recent differences between the establishment and Deuba-led factions over nominations to the party’s various departments, they argued that the party cannot lead the nation unless it is completely united.
NC district chiefs favor fresh parliamentary poll
At a time when the country is facing a protracted political crisis following the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA) without promulgating a new statute, the Nepali Congress (NC) has organized a national gathering of its district presidents at Barhabise of Sindhupalchowk district.
Kosh Raj Koirala and Dhruba Dangal of Republica spoke to various NC district presidents on the sidelines of the gathering to learn about their views on ways to resolve the current political deadlock.
Though they did not rule out the possibility of a CA reinstatement for a short period after a package deal among the parties on contentious issues of the new constitution, the district presidents are more in favor of holding parliamentary elections after forming a national consensus government. Excerpts:
Dinesh Kumar Yadav, Saptari
The NC as a democratic party has a huge responsibility on its shoulders. The very existence of our country will be in jeopardy if the parties fail to provide an outlet to the current deadlock. We should go for parliamentary elections by forging a national consensus among the parties. If there is no agreement among the parties, the NC along with other opposition parties should spearhead a mass movement to oust the current government. This will help create a conducive environment for elections. Nevertheless, we should not rule out the option of CA reinstatement altogether. However, reinstatement of the CA is obviously not the first option for resolving the deadlock.
Rajiv Koirala, Sunsari
There are two different opinions that emerge in discussions within the party on resolving the current political deadlock. Our district committee also organized meetings recently to discuss the issue. The meeting decided unanimously to go for elections. We should go to parliamentary polls on the basis of consensus, cooperation and unity among the parties. There is no alternative to that. It appears that the prime minister is not ready to quit his post on his own. He should be ousted through a peaceful movement without any further delay and then we should go for parliamentary elections.
Manab Saijuwal, Jumla
District committee presidents of the NC should raise mainly two issues at this gathering -- ways to provide an outlet for the current political deadlock and ways to strengthen the internal system of the party. The party leadership has failed to play an effective role over both these issues. In regard to resolution of the current political deadlock, there has been debate on two different options --reinstatement of the CA and fresh parliamentary elections. We should have no objection to a CA reinstatement if the parties can reach a package deal on all the contentious issues of the new constitution. But in case there is no such agreement, we should go for parliamentary elections. The elected parliament can act as the CA for the time being to bring a new statute.
Tara Bahadur Koirala, Dolakha
There are three different options for bailing the country out of the current political deadlock. First, there should be consensus among the parties. But the Maoists do not seem ready for that. The next option is to go for a mass movement. The current caretaker government should be ousted through the force of a movement across the country. Since going for elections under the current Baburam Bhattarai-led government would be tantamount to surrendering to the Maoists, our party should first take the initiative to oust the government and then go for parliamentary elections. We can hold a debate on the issue of CA reinstatement for a short time as well, as this could also be one of several ways of resolving the deadlock.
Himal Karki, Udayapur
In view of the various types of debate going on at the central level, our district committee also recently held some meetings to discuss ways to provide an outlet to the current political deadlock. Our district committee has unanimously decided to go for parliamentary elections with a mandate for the elected parliament to function as the CA for some time. But the parliamentary election should not be for something as big as a 601-member CA. We have categorically decided that there cannot be any reinstatement of the CA. The NC should take proactive initiatives for national consensus. The NC-led government should provide an outlet to the current political deadlock in the country.
Bir Bahadur Balayer, Doti
Our country has never been as fragile as it is today. In this sense, this gathering holds special importance. The NC cannot avoid taking responsibility by putting the blame on others. The NC should come up with a clear view on different issues including the issue of taking the country out of the current political deadlock. There should be national consensus among the parties. In case that does not happen, the party should launch a movement. All options including CA reinstatement or elections adoted through consensus among all the parties is acceptable. If the NC decides to join the government, it should be clear why it wants to lead the government. However unpopular they may be, the NC should put forth its views on federalism, the issues of indigenous nationalities and Madhesis and system of governance. We can promulgate a new statute through reinstatement of the CA for just 15 minutes if the parties arrive at consensus on all contentious issues of the new statute.
Tapta Bahadur Basnet, Surkhet
To put it honestly, there should not be any reinstatement of the CA. The CA, which was supposed to bring a new constitution within two years, failed to accomplish the task even after four years. So, the CA cannot bring a new constitution even if it is reinstated. First, there should be formation of a national consensus government. And that government should hold parliamentary elections.