Leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai (in foreground) applauding recitation of the party oath by members of the Naya Shakti Nepal at the inaugural function at Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu on Sunday (Dipesh Shrestha/Republica) -
KATHMANDU, June 12:A new party, Naya Shakti Nepal, under the leadership of former Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai, has been formally announced amidst a gathering of thousands of people convened at Dasharath Stadium here on Sunday.
Former prime minister Bhattarai, while addressing the gathering, announced that the singular focus of the new party would be on ensuring speedy development and economic prosperity in the country within a matter of years.
Bhattarai announced that the per capita income of Nepali citizens would be multiplied 10 times and Nepal would be made the richest country in the world in the next 25 years.
He claimed that the party leadership has concrete plans and programs for realizing the dream of transforming Nepal into a prosperous country within a few decades. The party has adopted as its signature slogan: 'A prosperous Nepal is possible in our lifetime'.
"In the past, it was political issues such as attaining democracy, a republican system and federalism that used to be the political parties' major agenda of struggle," he said. "But our party will have its singular focus on economic prosperity and fast development, and the political issues will be a secondary agenda for us."
Stating that national integrity can be strengthened only if the country retains its energetic youths within the country, Bhattarai claimed that it was only his newly-formed party that could lead the nation in the changed context following the promulgation of the new Constitution.
The party has claimed that it will emerge as an alternative political force in the country and become the largest party in future. "We are not just adding one more party in the country; this party is going to be an alternative political force," Bhattarai said.
The new party has announced good governance; transparency; proportional, inclusive, representative democracy; economic prosperity; and an equitable and prosperous society as its other agenda items.
Will accept TRC's decisions
Bhattarai, who was second-in-command in the former rebel Maoist party, announced that he will accept the decisions to be taken by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in conflict-era cases.
The TRC has called for complaints on insurgency-era cases and has so far received around 17,000 complaints from conflict victims seeking action against perpetrators both from the Maoist side and the security forces.
He said that a large number of people lost their lives in the course of the insurgency and that the wounds of the insurgency have still not healed. "A revolution is always cruel. Let it now be history. We have entrusted the TRC with the responsibility of enquiring into those cases. We should commit ourselves to allowing it to work impartially," he said. "We are ready to accept the decisions of the TRC. I will accept them."
He also vowed to allow the courts to work independently and said that his party would not protect anyone in the party who is convicted by the courts.
While Pushpa Kamal Dahal was chief of the then rebel Maoist party, Bhattarai was head of the parallel government run by the underground outfit.
Our country mustn't remain poor any longer: PM
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, while addressing the party's inaugural gathering, lauded the new organization's priority for economic prosperity. He suggested to the new party to work for economic prosperity, development, peace, stability and the integrity of the country.
"There are already about 200 political parties in the country and we do not need one more party; but we need a party that can work for development in the true sense. I hope this party will succeed in bringing this about," said Oli.
Also addressing the function, Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba pointed out the need for stability and peace for economic prosperity.
"Prosperity and development are urgent in our country. I welcome this commitment of the new party. But one shouldn't forget that lasting peace and an environment of investment are equally important for economic prosperity," said Deuba.
CPN (Maoist Center) leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara urged the Bhattarai-led organization to strike a right balance between political stability and development in order to achieve its goal of prosperity.
General Secretary of the Indian National Congress DP Tripathi, Janata Dal United General Secretary KC Tyagi and other Indian leaders also addressed the gathering.
Brazil's ambassador to Nepal likewise addressed the function. Indian ambassador Ranjeet Rae, the Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission and other foreign diplomats in Kathmandu were also present at the function.
Discussion session from today
The new organization has announced it is to conduct a discussion session over party ideology, policy and programs starting Monday. Around 1,500 representatives from across the country and party wings from abroad will attend the two-day discussions.
The party had earlier claimed that it would gather 100,000 people for the inaugural function.