Early setback for left alliance as Bhattarai decides to quit

Published On: October 14, 2017 01:38 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 13: Even before the CPN-UML-led leftist alliance could take a final shape, one of the constituent parties of the alliance has decided to sever ties with the alliance on Friday.
Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Party Nepal (NSPN) decided part ways with the UML-led alliance and contest the election with its election symbol -- eye. After the decision to be a part of the UML-led leftist alliance, Naya Shakti Party Nepal had announced to contest the election under UML's poll symbol, the sun.

Party insiders said the latest decision of NSPN comes in the wake of the differences among constituent parties in the left alliance to share election constituencies. While the party sought 15 percent election constituencies for the upcoming federal polls, CPN (Maoist Center) within the alliance had denied Bhattarai to contest from Gorkha constituency number 2, the home constituency of Bhattarai. 

The Maoist Center is planning field the candidacy of the party's senior leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha from the same constituency. Bhattarai was also a senior leader of the Maoist Center until he chose to defect the party shortly after the promulgation of the new constitution and decided to form NSPN.  

Issuing a press statement on Friday, NSPN said the party decided to contest the upcoming election on its own poll symbol after the UML and Maoist Center went against the spirit of the agreement to contest election under the same election symbol. The party also decided to forge electoral alliance with all the parties that believe in republicanism, federalism, secularism and inclusiveness. 

An extended meeting of NSPN on Friday also announced the candidacies of its party leaders. While Bhattarai will contest from Gurkha constituency number 2, Krishna Kumar Chaudhary and Dan Bahadur Chaudhary will contest the poll from Kailali 3 and Kapilbastu 1, respectively. Similarly, the party decided to field candidacy of Prem Tamang from Rasuwa and Madan Rai from Khotang. 

Meanwhile, party insiders said there are disputes already surfacing between UML and the Maoist Center as well over sharing of the electoral constituencies. While the Maoist Center has demanded 40 percent of the total election constituencies as per the understanding reached earlier, the UML has maintained that it is not possible to field candidacies of Maoist leaders where they are too week as shown by the recent elections.

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