KATHMANDU, Sept 28: A group of influential CPN-UML dissidents from the Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities, who had remained inactive for some six months following differences over the party´s stance on state restructuring, have now agreed to resume their work in the party.
After a meeting with top UML leaders including Chairman Jhalanath Khanal, Madhav Kumar Nepal and KP Sharma Oli at the party´s head office at Balkhu on Thursday, dissident leaders Prithivi Subba Gurung, Ram Chandra Jha, Kiran Gurung, Dal Bahadur Rana Magar and Bir Bahadur Lama decided to return to party work.
Another group including Vice-chairman Ashok Rai, Rajendra Shrestha, Bijay Subba and Ajambar Rai Kangbang among others are, however, all set to quit the CPN-UML on October 4 and form a new party.
Earlier, both groups were jointly pressing the CPN-UML leadership to stand for a single identity-based federal model. While the Gurung-led group decided not to quit the party even as the UML officially decided to stand for multi-identity based federalism, the Rai-led group insisted on forming a new party.
The leaders resuming their work in the party have been entrusted with the same responsibilities that they previously held.
They agreed to resume their party work after the top leaders gave an assurance that the party establishment would never show any bias or discrimination against them simply on the ground that they had engaged in activities aimed at pressing the party leadership for a single identity-based federal model.
In a five-point conclusion reached on Thursday, the party establishment also committed itself to allowing them to hold intra-party debates on differing views about state restructuring. "On dissenting views, debates will be held in a healthy and decent manner as per a system to be determined by the central committee," said the party´s statement on Thursday.
Party Chairman Khanal welcomed the five leaders and some other lawmakers and party influentials who were also part of the dissident movement, at the party office, and applauded their decision to reactivate themselves in party work.
Gurung had headed the erstwhile caucus of lawmakers from various political parties including most of the 51 UML lawmakers from Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities who were pressing the party establishment for adopting ethnicity-based federalism.
One of the five leaders returning to party work claimed, preferring anonymity, that hardly five former lawmakers would quit the party in the changed context.
The return of influential UML leaders to party work has been a severe blow to the Rai-led group, which has already announced it will quit the party on October 4 and form a new organization championing an ethnicity-based federal model.