‘Disappointed’ UML dissidents sulk in Dhulikhel

KATHMANDU, June 21: Leaders from the dissident group in the CPN-UML have said that the party leadership has shattered their expectations by not addressing their demands and utterances by top leaders were pushing the dissidents still further away.

Leaders from the group spoke their minds at a gathering at Dhulikhel of 22 UML leaders from Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities to discuss the way forward.

According to former state minister for home affairs Rijwan Ansari, the group was disappointed by the conclusions of the party´s two-day national conclave that ended on Wednesday.

“We had expected the gathering to address our nine-point demand submitted to the party leadership but the conclusions of the two-day event have not only disappointed us but also left us more furious with the leadership,” Ansari told Republica over the phone.

According to him, most of the dissident leaders gathered there expressed fury against Chairman Jhalanath Khanal for his statement holding the dissident group responsible in the demise of the Constituent Assembly (CA).

“Friends here have expressed worry that such an expression that will only further widen the distance between the two sides,” he said.

Chairman Khanal, in his political proposal presented at the two-day gathering, said that leaders from the major political parties were inching closer to a final deal on state restructuring but insistence by Madhesi parties and the caucus of lawmakers from ethnic and indigenous communities on their stance led to the CA´s demise.

“The Madhesi leaders´ insistence that the Tarai region mustn´t be linked to the hills, that the entire Tarai region mustn´t be divided into more than two provinces, and the inappropriate stance in the name of the Janjaati caucus that the provinces should be based on single-ethnic identity and that too effected through the CA itself resulted in the failure of the [May 15] agreement,” reads Khanal´s paper.

Khanal further claimed that Maoist leaders used the “caucus´ inappropriate stance” for their plans to dissolve the CA, expand their own vote bank, and create a constitutional and political crisis so as to lay the ground for imposing the party´s totalitarian system on the country.

According to him, leaders from the group were also dismayed because the party did not take any decision with regard to CA reinstatement. The group demanded that the UML take initiatives for CA reinstatement.

Ansari, however, informed that most of those from the dissident group are still awaiting the decisions to be taken at the party´s all-powerful central committee (CC) meeting scheduled to start from Thursday.

He said they still wanted to work with the UML if the party leadership addressed their nine-point demand but they would be compelled to think of an alternative if their demands were turned down.

According to Ansari, Vice-chairman Ashok Rai and others including Prithivi Subba Gurung, Bijay Subba, Ram Chandra Jha, Shatrughna Mahato, Rakam Chemjong and Gopal Thakur are among the 22 leaders gathered in Dhulikhel to discuss the group´s way forward.

They are scheduled to remain in Dhulikhel till Thursday.REPUBLICA

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