April 6, 2017 09:10 AM NPT
Dinesh Gole/Republica (From right) Yashoda Kumari Lama of Dalit Janjati Party, Shiva Lal Thapa of Janamukti Party-Democratic and Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar of Madhesi People's Rights Forum -Democratic lighting an oil lamp during the unification of the three parties in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
New party named Nepal Democratic Forum
KATHMANDU, April 6: The Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D), a key regional party in parliament, on Wednesday announced merger with two other fringe parties to become the fifth largest party in the House.
The merged entity which has been named Nepal Democratic Forum constitutes MPRF-D, Janamukti Party-Democratic (JPL-D) and Dalit Janajati Party Nepal (DJPN).
The merger, announced just five weeks ahead of the civic polls scheduled for May 14, comes as the latest example of how several fringe parties are going to merger and acquisition for political survival in wake of strong threshold provision and stringent electoral laws.
Last month, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal and Rastriya Prajatantra Party, two royalist parties advocating for Hindu state and constitutional monarchy, had merged into a single entity.
The new party announced under the leadership of MPRF-D Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar has been described as “a truly national political force reflecting Nepal's diversity”.
Organizing a program on Wednesday, Gachchhadar, Janamukti Party Chair Shiva Lal Thapa and Dalit Janajati Party Nepal Chair Yasoda Lama jointly made the new party's flag and manifesto public in the presence of over 500 party leaders and cadres in the capital.
In a press statement issued to announce the new party, leaders of three parties justified the unification saying the party would champion the rights of Madhesi, Janajati, Khas, Dalit and other excluded and marginalized communities in the new constitution.
“This merger aims to drive Nepal Democratic Forum to the helm of the government and contribute in the overall development of the nation,” reads the statement. The trio has also pledged to unite the people of hill, mountain and plain in a chain and spearhead Nepal's development and social reforms.
During the program, Gachchhadar said that the unity would strengthen the presence of the new party both at the ground and the center. He claimed that the new party will fare better in the upcoming local, provincial and national elections.
Ram Janam Chaudhary, a leader close to Gachchhadar, said that they are also in talks with other fringe parties and independent candidates for merger.
“We are no longer a regional party as we have organization in 62 districts. The party aims to contest the elections in almost all districts in the provincial and national assembly elections,” said Chaudhary. The party will contest the upcoming civic polls in 48 districts.
The new party has also superseded Federal Socialist Forum Nepal as the fifth largest political force in parliament. The NDF- has 14 seats in parliament and the Janamukti Party-Democratic holds two, while the Dalit Janajati Party Nepal has a single seat.