KATHMANDU, Nov 12: Another unification bid initiated by the three breakaway factions of the right-wing Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) was spoiled following differences over the unified party’s election symbol and political stand over the issue of monarchy.
Kamal Thapa-led RPP, Pashupati SJB Rana-led RPP (Democratic) and Prakash Chandra Lohani-led RPP (Nationalist) had started unification talks last week, with a view to form an alternative democratic and nationalist force, a year after the split in RPP following disputes over election symbol and party leadership.
RPP Chair Thapa told his party’s central committee members on Sunday that the unification talks with the two other breakaway forces came to an end after RPP (Democratic) Chairman Rana didn’t agree on cow as the election symbol and constitutional monarchy as the political line of the unified party, said a central committee member of the party.
Thapa and Rana had held talks ahead of the RPP meeting in a bid to iron out differences but to no avail. “He insisted on plow as the election symbol instead of cow and declined to adopt constitutional monarchy as our political line. Unification with the other parties renouncing our motto has no meaning,” the central committee member of the party quoted Thapa as telling the meeting.
Leaders close to Rana, however, blamed Lohani for failing the talks by demanding positions for various leaders including Keshar Bahadur Bista and others in the unified party. The three parties had agreed on a joint leadership model by nominating Thapa, Rana and Lohani as co-chairpersons of the unified party, like in the ruling Nepal Communist Party.
“We had agreed to make the three leaders as co-chairpersons, merge the central committees of the three parties and finalize the political line through the unification convention but the unification talks ended as some leaders were adamant on minor issues,” said a leader of the RPP (Democratic) requesting not to be named.
Following talks with Rana and Lohani, reunification of the three breakaway forces was scheduled to be announced from City Hall in the capital on Monday. “The City Hall had been booked for Monday to announce the reunification between the three parties but the unification chapter has been closed for now because some issues couldn’t be settled,” said Publicity Department head of RPP, Mohan Shrestha.
Lohani and Rana had formed separate parties splitting from the RPP, less than a year after a merger between the two parties led by Thapa and Rana in 2016. But following a humiliating defeat in the provincial and parliamentary elections held last year, the three parties had initiated reunification talks, vowing to conclude it by November.