UCPN (Maoist), UDMF to form federalist alliance

KATHMANDU, July 3: At a time when leaders of major political parties ranting about consensus, a meeting of ruling UCPN (Maoist) and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) on Monday decided to form an alliance of pro-federalist parties under the leadership of UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

Talking to Republica after the meeting, Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato said the alliance will soon take shape. “We have decided to form Federal Democratic Alliance (FDA) under the leadership of Dahal,” Mahato said and added that they will soon start talks with the parties that favor identity-based federalism.

Despite the decision to form the Federal Democratic Alliance, the same meeting also asked Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to take initiatives to forge consensus among political parties to end the current political impasse and concluded that there was no alternative to forging consensus on the issues of new constitution, government, election and budget.

“The meeting tasked UCPN (Maoist) chairman to take initiatives for forging consensus among parties on new constitution, government, election and budget,” said Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato, who was present at the meeting held at the prime minister´s office at Baluwatar on Monday morning.

According to him, they maintained that political parties should arrive at consensus on the new constitution before forming a national consensus government under the leadership of Nepali Congress (NC) as per the five-point agreement reached among political parties on May 2.

“Once the political parties arrive at consensus on the new constitution, they should hold talks for promulgating new constitution,” said Mahato, adding, “If political parties forged consensus on reviving the Constituent Assembly (CA) and the Supreme Court (SC) gave nod for this, then the CA could be revived.”

The meeting also concluded that if political parties could not arrive at consensus on the issue of reviving the CA, they should forge consensus on removing the legal and constitutional difficulties in order to hold new CA elections.

“If the political parties agreed on the CA election, the election date of November 22 could be changed,” Mahato added.

The ruling parties maintained that there was no alternative to unveiling a new budget. “It is the responsibility of the government to bring the fiscal budget,” said Mahato.

Emerging from the meeting, Minister for Information and Communications Rajkishor Yadav said the issue of the budget has been “unnecessarily politicized”. “Budget is merely an economic issue, but it has been unnecessarily politicized,” said Yadav, adding, “If a new budget is not announced on time then it will have long term impact on the economy.”

When asked about opposition demand for resignation of the prime minister before bringing budget, Mahato said, “We concluded that there is no need for the prime minister to resign until a consensus government is formed. The present government is just a caretaker one,” he stated.

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Vice-chairman and Foreign Minister Narayankaji Shrestha and Prime Minister´s Political Advisor Devendra Poudel and the chairmen of five Madhesi parties associated with UDMF were present at the meeting.Republica

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