KATHMANDU, Aug 10: Marking World Indigenous Day, Janjati and indigenous leaders on Thursday unveiled the name of their proposed party and its manifesto and vowed to complete the task of forming the new party within the next two months
While unveiling the party manifesto that advocates single identity-based federalism, the leaders formed a taskforce under the leadership of Dr Chaityanna Subba to complete the process of forming the Social Democratic Pluri-National Party and hold discussions on the manifesto from the center down to the grassroots level.
The party was supposed to be announced on August 9 but the Janjati leaders could not do so after a disgruntled Vice-chairman Ashok Rai and other leaders insisted on announcing the new party only after a couple of months, according to sources.
"This is the rise of a new force; we have proposed a party that will address the majority of the people in the country," said Subba, unveiling the manifesto at a press conference in Kathmandu on Thursday, "The proposed party will take full shape within the next six months."
Leaders vow unity. (Photo: Bhashwor Ojha)
The Janjati and indigenous leaders started mulling the formation of a new political party after the Constituent Assembly failed to draft a new constitution and political parties became divided over federalizing the country along ethnic lines.
Addressing the press meet, indigenous leader Pasang Sherpa, who quit the CPN-UML in protest at the party´s opposition to single-identity based federalism, said the new party will mark the beginning of a new political chapter in the country.
In the manifesto, the indigenous and Janjati leaders have accused the UCPN (Maoist), the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML of not discarding their stereotypes about indigenous peoples, Madhesis, Muslims, Dalits and other marginalized communities.
"The issues of indigenous peoples, Madhesis, Muslims and Dalits, among other marginalized communities, could not be included in the constitution because of anti-identity based federalist forces," reads the six-page manifesto.
Leaders in the press meet. (Photo: Bhashwor Ojhaa)
The manifesto has stated that the new party will fight for the right to self-determination, ethnic autonomy and self-governance, protection of secularism, linguistic equality, positive discrimination, the indentity of Janjati woman and equal rights for them, among other things.
Similarly, the proposed party has promised to forward the cause of Dalits, Madhesis and Muslims.
Influential indigenous leaders including CPN-UML leaders Rai and Preethivi Subba Gurung, Chairman of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) Rajkumar Lekhi and Nepali Congress leader IB Gurung, who were present at the national gathering last month, were absent from the press conference.
´We will form party from grassroots´ Krishna Bhattachan, member of taskforce for forming new party
Why could you not launch the new party earlier as announced?
Bhattachan: This party will not be like the conventional parties which have been formed from the center level. Rather, it will be formed from the grassroots up. Indeed, the formal process of formation of the party has begun from today (Thursday).
There are reports of differences among senior leaders over the announcement date. Is that why it could not be announced today? What do you say about the absence of CPN-UML leaders Ashok Rai and Preethivi Subba Gurung and Nepali Congress leader IB Gurung?
There is no difference among the leaders as reported in the media. We unveiled the manifesto with the consent of those leaders. It will take some time for them to join the party.
Are you sure they will join?
There is no place for doubt as they will surely join. We also had our doubts earlier but we took the step only after holding discussions with them.
So, how long will it take to give full shape to the party?
We will conclude discussions on the manifesto by October 1. Then we will move ahead with the formation of the party.