BRB visits Janakpur amid protestsFormer Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who arrived in Janakpur amid protests on Tuesday, has announced his plan to form a new political force.
Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who arrived in Janakpur amid protests on Tuesday, has announced his plan to form a new political force.
Addressing a mass meeting organised at Gopal Dharmashala in Janakpur, Bhattarai said he had been holding talks regarding the new political force as three major parties—Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist)—failed to institutionalise inclusive republicanism in the country. “The NC, UML and the Maoists are old and irrelevant. It’s time to form a new political force,” said Bhattarai, who severed his ties with the Maoist party and also resigned as a parliament member on Saturday.
Addressing the mass in Hindi, Bhattarai asserted that the new constitution had failed to address the demands of Madhesi, Janajati, Tharu and other marginalised communities. “I tried my best to address the demands of Madhes but to no avail. Forgive me,” said the former Maoist leader. He termed the recently promulgated constitution as “an incomplete document” and added that the Maoist party had betrayed him along with the Madhesis, Tharus and Janajatis.
He said it would be meaningless to celebrate the new constitution unless the demands of Madhes, Tharus and Janajatis are addressed through charter amendment. He said there should be two states in Madhes.
Talking to reporters earlier at Janakpur Airport, Bhattarai said the Tarai has been agitating for the past one and a half months but the government failed to address the genuine demands of the protesters. “I am here to express my solidarity with the Madhes agitation,” he added. Stating that the distance between Kathmandu and Madhes was widening, Bhattarai said he wanted to act as a bridge to narrow the gap between the two sides.
Asked if he would participate in talks with the government, the former prime minister said he would play the role of a facilitator if necessary.
In response to a query if he wanted to form a new party, Bhattarai said, “I would definitely do politics as I am a political person. But I have not made any concrete decision regarding the new party.”
On the prolonged hardship in the country caused by the disruption of essential goods on the border, Bhattarai suggested resolving the standoff through diplomatic channels.
Maoist leaders Ramchandra Jha, Ram Kumar Sharma, Ramrijhan Yadav, along with hundreds of activists, had reached the airport to welcome Bhattarai. Some activists of Madhes-based parties including Nepal Sadbhawana Party central member Rajiv Jha greeted Bhattarai with protests outside the airport. They chanted slogans against him.
Upon landing in Janakpur, Bhattarai went to Gopal Dharmashala to address an assembly where he reached an understanding with the protesters on not burning copies of the new constitution. He said the way ahead was by amending it.
However, the protesting Madhesi activists set the stage on fire after Bhattarai had addressed from there. They vandalised the stage and chairs against Bhattarai’s refusal to burn the copies of the new constitution “as agreed earlier”.
The enraged protesters
also manhandled Ramrijhan. The protesters even attempted to capture the stage prepared for Bhattarai’s address before his arrival. Maoist leaders Ramchandra and Arbinda Sah briefly clashed with the agitators while clearing the stage.