KATHMANDU: The country is heading towards local elections. Political parties have intensified discussions to forge an electoral alliance.
Despite the ruling coalition’s decision to make an electoral alliance, challenges seem to have surfaced when it comes to the implementation of the decision. Khabarhub’s Dhiraj Basnet held a conversation with Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) leader and former Minister Raj Kishor Yadav. Excerpts:
How is Janata Samajwadi Party preparing for the local election?
Frankly speaking, an election is an opportunity for political leaders and parties to reap the rewards of their performance.
This is an opportunity to get one’s agenda approved by the people. In a democracy, an election is an appropriate time for the people to reward or punish a political party or its leaders based on their work.
This is one of the most beautiful sides of democracy. Moreover, elections are necessary to strengthen democracy.
Therefore, our preparations are moving forward at a rapid pace. We are currently carrying out a door-to-door campaign in the villages to listen to their needs and grievances. In fact, we were with the people earlier too.
What is the criterion for fielding a candidate for the local election?
Currently, we are holding serious discussions with the leaders at the center and the local level. We are working to further strengthen the party.
Criteria are being worked out to decide on fielding the candidate. The ward committee will send the names of the candidates to the municipality to select the ward-level candidates.
The municipality will decide on the ward candidate on the basis of consensus. If it doesn’t end there, we have set up a mechanism for the district to decide.
In the case of the municipality, the municipality will select the name of the contestant and send it to the district committee.
As far as possible, the district will decide. If there is no consensus in the district, the state level will decide. This is how the selection of candidates is done.
We will select the candidates according to the demands of the local cadres so as to reduce the controversy by strengthening the organization.
There is an obligation to forge an electoral alliance. It seems to be very difficult to choose a candidate. How do you address this?
Of course, as you said, we now have a five-party alliance. We are preparing to coordinate at most of the local levels. In the alliance, it has been decided to select candidates from the center of the metropolis and sub-metropolis.
In the case of municipalities and villages, the center will decide the candidates. However, there is work to be done to select a candidate who will coordinate locally.
We really have a problem with candidate selection. Sometimes, you even have to sideline the aspirants of your party and support the candidate of some other party. But, we are trying to manage.
JSP has already a good grip in Madhes. Why do you seek the support of the five-party alliance there as well?
The five-party alliance was formed to bring the constitution on the right track. The alliance is set to continue till the elections to the House of Representatives.
Therefore, it should be understood that the ruling coalition is contesting the election on the basis of consensus. Even if we contest alone in Madhes, we can easily win most of the seats. We don’t need an alliance in Madhes.
However, since we have formed an alliance to overcome the regressive forces, we have decided to face the elections unitedly.
Are you trying to say that you have joined the coalition to stay in power?
No, power is not a major thing. As I said earlier, the coalition is formed to defeat the regressive forces. If this alliance is not continued, there is a risk that such forces will re-emerge.
That is why we are standing in the same front. You have come to the conclusion that the election will be fought by choosing a common candidate on the basis of an alliance.
It’s been rumored that internal discussions are being held between JSP, Maoist Center and Unified Socialist Party for party unity. How far is it true?
Coalition, coordination, unity and polarization are common among political parties. Such a process continues. If Congress leaves, we have already discussed the issue of forming an alliance with the three parties.
However, that is only meant for an electoral alliance. We have not thought of party unity since the first thing is to agree on ideological, theoretical and political issues, which do not go hand in hand among the three parties.