KATHMANDU, June 4: A majority of the CPN-UML Central Committee (CC) members who aired their views at the CC meeting on Sunday have termed the party´s proposal to form a high-level commission on state restructuring an irrelevant idea.
They have suggested to the party leadership to settle intra-party dispute by adopting mixed-identity as the major basis for delineation and naming of provinces.
The two-day politburo meeting of the party that concluded on Saturday had proposed formation of the commission to resolve the issue as some of the key leaders from Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities threatened to quit the party if the leadership did not agree to delineate and name the provinces on the basis of ethnic identities. But the top party leaders are reluctant to accept the proposal fearing that ethnicity-based model might sow the seeds of racial disharmony.
Leaders including Gokarna Bista, Shri Prasad Sah, Lalbabu Pundit, Gokul Gharti and Bisham Lal Adhikari Danuwar, among others, were for delineating and naming provinces on the basis of mixed identity. As per the proposal, the provinces will be named after a dominant community of the specific province and a neutral name such as Newa-Bagmati, Gandaki-Tamuwan and Dhaulagiri-Magrat.
They were of the view that such a proposal would not only help resolve the intra-party dispute in the UML but also can be a mid-way solution among the major political parties as well.
Pundit claimed a majority of those who aired their views said at the meeting that there was no point in forming the commission as the party´s federal department and other taskforces formed by the party had already conducted researches on the matter among the party rank and file. "Forming yet another commission will prove to be the Pandora´s Box while we have just minor differences that can be settled by holding discussions among the concerned leaders," Pundit explained.
Sah urged the party leadership not to shy away from adopting the mixed-identity for nomenclature.
Both Pundit and Sah, who represent Madhes communities, argued that there is no point in the leaders´ remaining reluctant to adopt mixed-identity because the leaders from ethnic and indigenous communities have already given up some of the rigid demands such as preferential political rights and right to self-determination.
Some of the party´s dissident leaders from Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities, who have been fighting for ethnic identity-based federalism, remained absent at the CC meeting as well. The party´s Vice-chairman Ashok Rai, Prithivi Subba Gurung, Bijay Subba, Rajendra Shrestha and Bir Bahadur Lama were among those who didn´t attend the CC meeting.
While Jha had attended the politburo meeting on Saturday, Gurung said he would be arriving in Kathmandu from Pokhara to attend the meeting.
According to CC member Thakur Gaire, among the party´s 18 CC members from Madhesi communities it was only Jha who didn´t attend the meeting on Sunday. Similarly, of the total 25 members from ethnic and indigenous communities, only seven remained absent. "It is not that all of those who couldn´t show up today [Sunday] boycotted the meeting. It is also due to other reasons such as their busy schedule," said Gaire.
While some of the members airing their views argued that those who have remained absent should, abiding by the party´s discipline, put their views in the party meetings instead of expressing their opinions in public.
But other members from Madhesi and indigenous communities urged the leadership to create environment conducive to the dissident leaders to participate in the party meetings.
Then, the meeting decided to hold the next meeting only on June 9 only after holding discussions with the dissident leaders.
Propose CA reinstatement
Some of the key leaders including Bista, Pundit and Sah, among others, proposed that the party firmly stand for the reinstatement of the CA and entrust the Assembly with the responsibility of completing the remaining work on constitution writing.
They argued that holding yet another CA election within couple of years is neither possible nor logical. "We have to reinstate the CA even if it is only for an hour to hand over the task to the transitional parliament," said Pundit. "We can´t leave the duty of constitution writing incomplete."
Top leaders under fire
Also, some of the leaders including Bista and Pundit came down heavily on the top leaders for failing to promulgate the new constitution from the CA and pushing the country into political uncertainty.
"Top leaders from all the major political parties are squarely responsible for the present crisis because they were the ones who were in the driving seat and lately they were entirely entrusted with the task of resolving disputes in constitution writing," a participant quoted Bista as saying at the meeting. "Now they have utterly failed and they must be ready to hand over leadership to second-rung leaders."