KATHMANDU, Oct 5: The ruling Nepali Congress's efforts to forge an alliance among right-wing forces saw signs of progress Wednesday with some smaller parties expressing readiness to be part of the proposed "democratic alliance".
At least two parties -- the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) and Nepal Loktantrik Forum (NFL) -- have decided to join the alliance to counter the looming grand leftist alliance.
Their decision comes a day after the UML, CPN (Maoist Center) and Naya Shakti Nepal announced a grand leftist alliance for provincial and parliamentary elections with a long-term plan of unification.
NC is also trying to bring other parties, notably the Nepal Loktantrik Forum, Rastriya Janata Party Nepal and Rastriya Prajatantra Party Democratic, into the alliance. The two parties still appear undecided.
Even some far left parties including Rastriya Janamorcha and Nepal Majdoorkisan Party have also hinted at supporting the NC-led alliance.
Smaller parties on both sides of the political spectrum are under pressure to choose between NC and UML due to sharp political polarization. If the grand leftist alliance produced desired outcomes in the upcoming elections, it is likely to render smaller parties irrelevant in power politics.
"UML-led alliance has necessitated a counter alliance. Our party is ready to be part of such alliance for provincial and parliamentary elections. But much will depend on how NC treats us," Anil Kumar Jha, a member of the RJPN presidium.
A meeting of RJPN leaders on Wednesday decided to forge an electoral alliance with democratic forces.
RJPN leaders said they will decide about joining the alliance after negotiations. Jha said there could be unification if NC agreed to give his party respectable space.
Besides RJPN, Nepal Loktantrik Forum (NFL) is also confirmed for joining an NC-led alliance if the negotiation proceeds well. NFL General Secretary Ramjanam Chaudhary said that an NC-led alliance would be a natural choice for his party.
"Since several leaders including party chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadhar began political career from NC, merger with the party would not be difficult. But there are many leaders in the party coming from communist backgrounds. So, it will take time to orient and prepare them for possible unification," said the NFL general secretary.
FSFN Chairman Upendra Yadav said that his party would join one of the two alliances. Talking to Republica Tuesday, Yadav confirmed that his party is in talks with the NC and the UML.
"Our party is currently at midpoint. We could choose any side after negotiations. Ideologically, we are at equidistant with both parties," said Yadav.