Confused parties struggling to consolidate alliances
THIRA L BHUSAL
KATHMANDU, Oct 1: Four months after dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, political forces -- ruling as well as opposition parties -- seemed to be concentrating their efforts in consolidating their alliances more than in making efforts to forge consensus for ending the current impasse.
The picture of their strength in number is equally unclear mainly due to split of one after another political party in the recent days and due to flip-flop position of some fringe parties.
The ruling parties backed by some other small political parties have formed the Federal Democratic Republican Alliance (FDRA) under the leadership of UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal a month ago. Over 20 of the total 33 political parties represented in the then CA have allied themselves with the Dahal-led front.
Lately, major opposition parties Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML have been trying hard to bring more parties into their fold and have announced to launch massive protests soon.
Around 20 political parties including the CPN-Maoist, which is a splinter faction of the ruling UCPN (Maoist), Rastriya Janashakti Party, Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Rastriya Janamorcha, Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Nepal, newly-formed National Madhes Socialist Party, Janamorcha Nepal, CPN (Samyukta), CPN-ML and Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi) have joined the opposition front led by the Nepali Congress.
Based on the parties´ strength in the erstwhile 601-member CA, which is the latest available figure to assess the political parties´ position, the strength of the ruling coalition outweighs the opposition parties.
However, the UCPN (Maoist) itself has been vertically split and its Senior Vice-Chairman Mohan Baidya has already formed CPN-Maoist and around 90 lawmakers have joined the new party.
Sharat Singh Bhandari, a key leader in the Bijaya Gachchhadar´s MPRF-D who was defense minister and was sacked by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, revolted to form his own National Madhes Socialist Party.
Also, a group of leaders led by Nandan Dutta of the MPRF-Republican, which is headed by Minister for Information and Communications Raj Kishor Yadav, have claimed that they have ousted Yadav as party chief. But the Election Commission has yet to take a decision on the issue.
Similarly, Chairman of CPN (Samyukta) Chandra Dev Joshi recently quit the government expressing his differences with the prime minister over various issues and joined the opposition alliance. Also, CPN-ML chief C P Mainali has recently been participating in the meetings of opposition parties although his party´s Kumar Belbase is a minister in the current government.
The political parties seemed to have adopted two-pronged strategy albeit less confidently. While leaders are irregularly holding negotiations, the parties from both the sides have also planned show of strength in the days to come.
CPN-UML spokesperson Pradeep Gyawali is less optimistic that the leaders will reach consensus anytime soon. "The parties´ activities show that leaders are not mentally prepared to go for fresh polls either," Gyawali observed.
Prem Bahadur Singh, spokesperson of the ruling parties´ alliance FDRA, says the leaders are confused about what their next move should be. "Recently, they decided to go for fresh polls. But latest developments and the leaders´ remarks show that they have again backed out from that decision as well," Singh told Republica. He said that holding fresh polls is going to be a hard nut to crack given the constitutional, legal and political complexities. "Also the situation at the grassroots is not favorable for election. Maybe this is because the leaders are not fully confident to go for fresh elections," he explained.