KATHMANDU, Oct 4: A group of district-level leaders from Nepali Congress (NC), including former Lawmaker Kumar Rai, quit the party on Wednesday, expressing dissatisfaction over the party´s official policy on state restructuring, snubbing commitment expressed by top NC leaders earlier in the day to address the dissident´s concerns.
Durgamani Dewan, Buddharaj Rai, Juddha Bahadur Rai, Tika Prasad Gauchan, Raj Kumar Mahato and Subas Tamang announced their decision to quit amid a function at Baudha in Kathmandu Wednesday.
The leaders also held NC leadership responsible for the dissolution of Constituent Assembly without promulgating the new constitution. They also accused the NC establishment of failing to play constructive and leading role for writing new constitution and to stand for the rights of marginalized and oppressed communities.
Anticipating the dissidents´ move to quit the party, NC President Sushil Koirala convened a meeting of top leaders at his residence earlier in the morning.
The leaders at the meeting had agreed to address the concerns of party members from Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities in a democratic and constitutional way.
NC leaders decide to quit the party. (Photo: Bhashwor Ojha)
A senior party leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, emerging from the meeting, said the party was serious about the demands of the disgruntled leaders and was positive about solving them amicably. "We want to address the genuine concerns of the ethnic and indigenous communities by holding discussions within the party," Deuba told reporters.
Vice-President Ram Chandra Paudel also said that the party respects the aspirations of the dissident leaders.
The NC had earlier formed a team led by Bhim Bahadur Tamang to address the 11-point demands put forth by dissidents. The Tamang-led committee suggested to the party to consider ethnic-identity as one of the bases for state restructuring. But the panel clearly advised the party not to stand for any federal setup based on single-ethnic identity.
Separate groups of leaders from Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities from NC, CPN-UML and Maoist parties have been demanding that provinces be named and delineated along the single-ethnic identity.
The NC´s Tamang-led panel had concluded that naming and delineating provinces based on purely ethnic lines would invite ethnic confrontation in the country.
Meanwhile, a group of dissidents from CPN-UML have scheduled a function in Kathmandu for Thursday where the party´s Vice-Chairman Ashok Rai and other central level leaders are expected to announce their decision to leave the party.