Rank and file of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) in Kathmandu-7 are not pleased with the decision of lawmaker Ram Bir Manandhar to resign to get leader Bam Dev Gautam elected to the House of Representatives (HoR).
Setopati talked to over 50 ordinary voters and leaders/cadres of CPN in the constituency on Wednesday and an overwhelming majority of them does not like the decision.
“I was the commander of the left alliance in the constituency during the general election and we won all three seats including the two for the provincial assembly,” Nhuchhe Kaji Maharjan, who was elected ward chairman of Kathmandu-18 on a CPN-UML ticket, told Setopati.
The constituency includes wards 16, 17, 18 and 25 of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, 1, 2 and 3 of Nagarjun municipality and 3, 4 and 5 of Tarakeshwore municipality. The then CPN-UML candidates were elected ward chairman in six of those 10 wards and those of Nepali Congress in four in the predominantly Newar constituency.
“Around 70 percent of the people in the constituency are Newars. Manandhar was elected by the Newar community. The decision on Gautam running here has yet to be taken. But it will be difficult for him to come and contest here,” Maharjan stated.
The leaders and cadres there say Manandhar took the decision without consulting them. Maharjan says he heard the news of Manandhar’s resignation for Gautam while he was in Manakamana on Monday. “How could he take such a decision without consulting anyone? He did not inform even provincial assembly members Prakash Shrestha and Basanta Manandhar,” he added.
Provincial assembly member Manandhar confirmed that Ram Bir Manandhar did not consult either of the two assembly members from the constituency. “We were in Hetauda on Monday. Manandhar did not even talk with us. We were together during the general election but he did not even ask us before taking a big decision like resignation,” he stated.
“We do not know what happened. He avoids us even when we try to talk with him. His decision to suddenly resign against the wish of the people, and rank and file here is unfortunate.”
He revealed that he and Prakash Shrestha went to meet Prime Minister and CPN Chairman KP Sharma Oli Wednesday morning to talk about the issue. “We briefed PM Oli about the reaction in the constituency.”
He said a loss for Gautam will devastate the party’s organizational structure in the constituency. “We told PM that a negative impact on organization will have a long-term effect. PM has assured that he will take a decision on resignation only after discussion in the party. Let’s see what happens.”
Ram Bir Manandhar had announced his resignation Tuesday afternoon. “Gautam played an important role for electoral alliance and eventual unification of the then CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center),” Manandhar stated addressing a press conference organized at Bijuli Bazar to announce his resignation on Tuesday. “The whole country and not just Kathmandu-7 will be developed if he comes to the parliament.”
CPN Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had proposed in the Monday’s secretariat meeting to make Gautam HoR member by holding by-election in Kathmandu-7.
Dahal had claimed that he, Gautam and elected lawmaker from the constituency Manandhar have already agreed to that regard.
Manandhar was elected with 18,102 votes from Kathmandu-7 in the last election. RPP’s Bikram Thapa had received 10,079 votes with support of Nepali Congress (NC).
Gautam has been demanding he be brought to the HoR in almost all the secretariat meetings claiming that he was victim of betrayal by the then CPN-UML leaders and cadres in the general election. He had lost to Sanjay Kumar Gautam of NC by 753 votes in Bardiya-1 despite the alliance of UML with the then Maoist Center.
There were efforts to get him elected from Dolpa earlier but cadres put pressure on the elected lawmaker Dhan Bahadur Buda to not resign. Gautam also did not insist stating that he does not even know leaders and cadres of Dolpa.
A Baluwatar source claims Manandhar has demanded with Dahal and Gautam that he should be elected to the National Assembly and made minister.