'Pro-federalists' alliance is long-term strategy: Dahal
KATHMANDU, Aug 16: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that the newly-formed ´alliance of pro-federalists´ would not only function as a coalition for the attainment of immediate objectives but also remain active as a long-term strategic partnership.
Dahal was speaking at a press meet organized to announce the Federal Democratic Republican Alliance (FDRA) led by himself and with representation from over two dozen political parties including the ruling Madhes-based parties.
"This historic front is being formed not just for achieving some ordinary and immediate goals but it will work to transform the country into a new Nepal as per the spirit of the various movements launched in the past," he said. "This force may work as an electoral alliance or may go for protests jointly in future if need be."
Dahal speaking at the press meet. (Photo: Keshab Thoker)
He was, however, quick to add that the main and immediate objective of the alliance was to create an environment conducive to ending the ongoing political stalemate.
He also made it clear that restructuring of the state based on ethnic identity was the only way to end the stalemate.
PM´s exit not a solution
Dahal, who was flanked by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar, among other leaders from the ruling coalition, fiercely criticized the opposition parties, saying they were insisting on the resignation of the prime minister but not playing a constructive role in finding a political solution.
He further claimed that the prime minister´s exit without first finding an amicable solution would be tantamount to pushing the country into graver crisis.
"The prime minister´s exit is not the solution. The need of the hour is instead to reach agreement on issues," explained Dahal.
Dahal argued that he alone as chairman of the UCPN (Maoist) could not pile enough pressure on the opposition parties such as Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML and added that the joint strength of the alliance would be instrumental in bringing the opposition into a consensus.
Koirala main spoilsport
Coming down heavily on NC President Sushil Koirala for allegedly creating hindrances during inter-party negotiations, Dahal described Koirala as the major obstruction in consensus building among the major political parties.
He also held Koirala responsible for the demise of the Constituent Assembly (CA) on May 27.
"The bill to extend the CA term for three months was registered by NC leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula following a cabinet meeting attended by Maoist, NC and UML ministers," Dahal elaborated. "But all of a sudden Sushil Koirala convened a press meet to object to the decision."
According to him, it was from that point that the political course fell into serious crisis. "He [Sushil] was so irresponsible that he left the talks table on May 27 even as all the other party leaders were striving hard till midnight to find common ground on a federal model and the other disputes over constitution writing."
While fiercely criticizing Sushil Koirala, Dahal lauded former prime minister and NC leader the late Girija Prasad Koirala for his role in the peace process from the 12-point understanding signed in 2005 until his last days.
The alliance has clearly proposed two options as a political solution and the roadmap forward. The alliance´s first priority is to hold fresh elections for the CA and legislature-parliament. The second option is to reinstate the dissolved CA for a few days, mainly for two purposes-- to promulgate a new constitution and to hold elections for a parliament.
The alliance has said its immediate plan is to form a broader political force with the objective of garnering an overwhelming majority in the next CA polls, to promulgate a constitution ensuring a federal democratic system based on ethnic identity and to expose the elements that are against ´a forward-looking and progressive constitution".