October 4, 2017 07:15 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Oct 4: The sudden alignment among key left forces in the country have sent tremors across Nepal’s political landscape forcing smaller parties to rethink their position in the new political order.
On Monday, the UML, CPN (Maoist Center) and Naya Shakti Nepal announced a grand leftist alliance with long-term plan of merger. The alliance will jointly contest the provincial and parliamentary elections scheduled for November 26 and December 7.
Tuesday’s political alignment has forced Madhes-based parties to choose between Nepali Congress and UML, the two parties which are likely to dominate the national politics in the coming days.
Besides weakening their electoral strength, the fresh polarization in Nepali politics is likely to make smaller parties irrelevant in power politics.
Some Madhesi leaders have already started siding with either the UML or the Nepali Congress.
Around a dozen leaders affiliated to the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal including Hridayesh Tripathi have decided to contest the federal and parliamentary elections with UML’s election symbol. The decision has left RJPN devoid of prominent face in the western region.
“RJPN presidium’s decision to limit the party to Province 2 further isolated the party leaders and cadres in the western tarai,” said Tripathi. RJPN’s decision to limit itself to Province 2 triggered our move,” said Tripathi.
Like Tripathi, Abishek Pratap Sah of Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) on Monday joined NC. FSFN leaders said that Sah’s joined the NC against the backdrop of merger talks between FSFN and UML.
FSFN Chairman Upendra Yadav said his party was still undecided over the alliance although he didn’t rule out such possibility. He said that his party was in merger talks with both the NC and the UML.
“Talks are underway with all parties. An appropriate decision would be taken after negotiations,” said Yadav, adding that his party has kept all doors open.
Besides FSFN, NC has expedited talks with the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, Nepal Loktantrik Forum and Rastriya Prajatantra Party Democratic for merger.