UML deserters, others form Federal Socialist Party
THIRA L BHUSAL
Ashok Rai is chair of 98-member ad-hoc committee
8 vice-chairmen, 3 assistant general secretaries, 5 secretaries KATHMANDU, Nov 23: After months of gestation, a group of leaders from the ethnic and indigenous communities finally formed a new party, Federal Socialist Party Nepal, with former CPN-UML vice-chairman Ashok Rai as its chairman, on Thursday.
Leaders from the new party vowed to create an alternative political force to champion single ethnic identity-based federalism and a proportional, inclusive governance system in the country.
The party has adopted "federalism for ethnic emancipation and socialism for class emancipation" as its signature slogan and stated that championing single ethnic identity-based federalism and building a society of social justice were the new party´s major objectives.
Ashok Rai greets supporters. (Photo: Bijay Gajmer)
The new party has a 22-member office-bearers´ committee. All of them except three -- Vice-chairperson Durgamani Dewan, who quit the Nepali Congress, Assistant General Secretary Radha Timilsina, who quit CPN-Ekikrit, and Secretary Norsang Sherpa, a former NC leader -- were from the UML.
Also, the 98-member central ad-hoc committee is heavily dominated by former UML leaders, as a group of some 50 central-level UML leaders who quit their origional party over differences in policy on state restructuring had played a key role in forming the new party.
General Secretary Rajendra Shrestha, Vice-chairmen Bijay Subba, Prem Krishna Pathak, Bir Bahadur Lama, Rakam Chemjong, Hemraj Rai, Rijwan Ansari, Gopal Thakur, Assistant General Secretary Ajambar Rai Kangmang, and Secretaries Mina Gurung, Horilal Chaudhary, Karna Bahadur Budha Magar, Ram Singh Yadav and DB Nepali were all formerly in the UML.
Ashok Rai along with others while unveiling party´s flag. (Photo: Bijay Gajmer)
Similarly, chief of the Central Advisory Committee Mangalsiddhi Manandhar, chief of Central Disciplinary Committee Ranadhwaj Kandangwa, Central Election Committee chief Raj Kumar Rai and Central Audit Committee head Sushila Shrestha had only recently quit the UML.
On October 4, a group of noted UML dissidents including Vice-chairman Rai quit the party because of differences over state restructuring policy. The party officially decided to stand for delineating the federal provinces on the basis of multiple identities while the dissident leaders insisted that the provinces should be based on single-ethnic identity.
The party manifesto includes 10 points explaining why a new political force became necessary for the country.
Ashok Rai addresses function. (Photo: Bijay Gajmer)
It has claimed that forming the new party became imperative for transforming Nepal into a state of multiple nationalities, establishing socialism and institutionalizing the republican system.
Claiming that the system of forming a government of the majority party with the minority playing the role of opposition in parliament has proved to be a failure in Nepal, the new party has advocated an inclusive democracy and a proportional electoral system that would ensure representation of the various communities in the governing system.
The new party has said that it will champion a secular state and a multilingual society to nurture coexistence and communal harmony.
"When we studied worldwide practices, we found that capitalistic federalism has failed to solve ethnicity-based and class-based problems," stated the manifesto. "We have, therefore, stood for socialist federalism."
On economic policy, the party has announced three pillars --state, cooperative and private ownerships -- in a mixed economic system and public-private partnership in the development model.
Addressing the function organized to announce new party, Chairman Rai said they had to form a new party as the so-called mainstream political parties failed to work as per the people´s aspirations. "Leaders from the so-called major parties utterly failed to take the transitional period to its logical conclusion. They instead pushed the country into further chaos by bickering over power," said Rai.
He said the CA became a victim at the hands of leaders from the major parties as they were not happy with the CA´s composition. "There was a two-thirds majority of the marginalized and downtrodden communities and had a new constitution been promulgated based on the draft being prepared in the CA, it was certain the statute would have been in favor of people from the oppressed communities," he claimed. "It is therefore leaders from the big parties that foiled the CA´s work."