KATHMANDU: Despite discussions for almost two months, the issue of allocation of seats within the ruling coalition has not been finalized yet.
The leaders have been claiming that they are close to an agreement, and only a couple of seats/constituencies have double claims.
In some constituencies, the claims of more than one party are to be settled with the agreement of the top leaders.
However, the agreement has not yet been reached in about 30 constituencies.
Moreover, the CPN-Unified Socialist Party and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) have expressed their displeasure saying that the coordinator of the task force, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, has brought a proposal that benefits the CPN-Maoist Center and the Nepali Congress (NC).
They have proposed only 15 seats each to Unified Socialist and JSP.
Based on this issue, Khabarhub’s Dhiraj Basnet approached JSP leader Raj Kishor Yadav to discuss the complications relating to seat distribution and the strategies for the November 20 elections. Excerpts:
The issue of allocation of seats has been discussed in the ruling coalition regularly. But what is hindering the talks?
The general election is a forum for all political parties to verify their activities through the mandates of the people.
It is a means to reconnect the party leadership with the public. We have a five-party coalition. There are many issues to be addressed.
Five-party coalition has to be kept intact as well. Internal problems within NC are also hindering the process.
Our endeavor is to satisfy all the political parties in the alliance. Many issues have been resolved. Some technical issues are yet to be finalized.
You have been claiming that it will be resolved soon. What is the cause of the dispute?
Allotment of seats has become difficult as everyone has been trying to claim more rather than agreeing on the subject.
If a party cannot be reconciled and the party feels the need, it can be resolved by taking it to proportionality.
Does JSP deserve only 15 seats?
JSP deserves more. We will not agree on 15 seats. The coalition is a necessity for all.
All parties should be regarded equally. Our Chairman has clarified that we are capable of contesting alone provided we are not treated fairly. We will not let others take our strongholds. We do not agree to sit in 15 seats.
Will you quit the coalition if you are not given more than 15 seats?
We are an important part of the coalition. I don’t think there will be a situation to that extent. We have claimed where our base is rather than claiming more undue seats. We have asked for at least 22 seats.
It is said that JSP has been saying it needs at least one seat more than Unified Socialist. Why is it so?
It is merely a scandal. We have only claimed the constituencies where we have a stronghold.
Will you contest from Siraha constituency number 4 this time or will you leave this constituency to Ajay Shankar Nayak from Maoist Center?
Now the coalition has introduced a formula called setting and dating. Whoever won the election in 2017 will get the seat and the seats will be given as per the influence of the leadership over there. We have agreed in Siraha-4. JSP gets this constituency.
What are your party JSP’s and your preparation personally for this election?
We were always in the field because we came from the movement. They are trying to take the electoral front as a front of the movement. Since I am with the people, the party makes full preparations and I am also ready. Elections are a special process and occasion for leaders and parties. We are fully prepared to go to the people.
Do you not consider UML as a challenge in Madhesh?
In the current state of the parties, we had to give a kind of impression of our internal coordination. However, there is a weakness in it. Due to the inability of leaders to manage in this province, the tendency of deserting the party has increased.
We are aware that this is a challenge for us. We take it as a challenge as those who did not want development in Madhes earlier have started making big claims of sacrifices now. We have tried to improve our mistakes and move forward.
To what extent has the Janmat Party posed a challenge to you in Madhesh?
We have taken Janmat Party on our side. Somehow we will cooperate with each other. We realize that when the political parties are weak here, the issues of Madhesh also become weak. We know the role of CK Raut.
We are aware that if we can go organized, we can make our party the strongest party over here and make a substantive contribution to the national liberation movement in this country.
What have you done in these five years, what do you say when you go to the people?
We could not do as much as we thought and wanted. One of the main reasons is that it was not possible to go openly in front of the public due to the covid-19.
The pandemic adversely affected all economic, social and political sectors. It was beyond anyone’s control. The nearly two-thirds majority government became unstable and we had to spend a lot of time and energy to stabilize it.
We played a role in the welfare of the country based on the mandate given by the people. We tried our best to address the issues related to the everyday life of the public.
As many laws could not be enacted, the challenges were many.
They say that in the Madhsh province led by your party JSP 60 percent of the development budget goes to corruption. Why is it so?
This is a kind of attempt to contaminate the politics of Nepal. Some leaders are disgraced because they have lost their faith. There are also anti-corruption agencies. If corruption is there, there are bodies to control it as well.
However, the general psychology of Kathmandu is that the federal capital does not like federalism. Even so, Madhes has not been able to refrain from the past mentality.
I have not embezzled even a single rupee. If I have committed corruption, I will retire from political life. We came into politics to change the lives of the Nepali people.
Now definitely, the kind of theoretical ideological derailing, mistrust towards political parties, youth unemployment, and corruption in Nepali politics has made politics discredited. The country needs our leadership to overcome these challenges.