By Our Reporter
Baburam Bhattarai formally announced his New Force as a new political party of Nepal. Bhattarai, who had led a government in the capacity of vice chairman of the then UCPN-Maoist in 2011/12, had quit the party as well as the Constituent Assembly immediately after the promulgation of the new constitution in September last year. He is now the coordinator of the New Force.
Almost eight and a half months after deserting his mother party-the UCPN-Maoist that had launched an armed conflict from 1996 to 2006 causing deaths of some 17,000 Nepalese, Bhattarai announced his Naya Shakti as a new party amidst the gathering of the former Maoists, former bureaucrats and a few celebrities at the Dasharath Stadium of Kathmandu on Sunday.
Though the New Force, which Bhattarai created after separating himself from the UCPN-Maoist and the CA, had claimed that the creation of the party would be announced amidst 100,000 supporters, security officers and analysts estimated that only 15,000 New Force supporters were present in the announcement function of Sunday.
However, New Force, as claimed by it did not disturb traffic system of the valley while carrying rallies. The supporters used pavements instead of the main road to take their rallies to Dasharath Stadium.
However, the function was not managed properly. Actress KarishmaManadhar who anchored the function together with Pasang Sherpa made several errors while calling the guests. Her weaknesses became an issue to criticize not only her butBhattarai himself, especially on the social sites.
The launching of the new party was attended by Prime Minister K. P. Oli, NC President SherBahadurDeuba and leaders of other parties. However, chairman of the Maoist Centre Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Maoist leader Mohan Baidhya did not attend the function.
While extending greetings to the New Force, Prime Minister K.P. Oli said that Bhattarai’s new party would deal a blow to other parties except his party-the CPN-UML. However, the presence supporters and the wayBhattarai advertised the function, the New Force may affect almost all parties with Maoist-centre being the main target.
How powerful will Bhattarai’s New Force?
The activists and leaders of the New Force have been claiming that their party will emerge as Number One party in the parliamentary elections of 2018 as well as the local election. This slogan of ‘Number One’ party coined by former finance secretary RameshworKhanal immediately after the creation of the New Force in January this year has been popular among the cadres and supporters of the New Force. However, it looks unlikely that the New Force will be Number One party in three years. Several factors prevent the New Force from becoming the largest party.
Except Bhattarai, the party has no popular figure who has won the elections. It has former bureaucrats, academicians and the personalities from the entertainment sectors. The bureaucrats and academicians have been staying in Kathmandu since they joined their offices. While working in the civil service and other sectors for over 30 years, they hardy returned to their homes in villages. Instead they have been living a comfortable life in the city and these people have no voter-based popularity. Even actress KarishmaManandhar and actor SarojKhanal cannot compete with the NC and UML candidates in Lalitpur and Kathmandu. As such, the party has no chance of getting popular votes both in cities and villages. Those who are now with Bhattarai are the demanding people and they cannot win elections. The former Maoists who are now with him had lost the CA elections 2013.
Secondly, most people in hills and Kathmandu takeBhattarai as a loyal agent of India. His activities and views expressed after the promulgation of new constitution also support this allegation. There are many people in Kathmandu who think Bhattarai has been receiving money from India to form and expand his party. At a time, when anti-Indian sentiment has been high in Nepal, a political party portrayed as pro-Indian’ cannot fare well in the elections.
“ExceptBhattarai, no one will win the first-past-the-post election from this party,” a political analyst was heard arguing at a Restaurant in Tripueshwor on Sunday whenBhattarai was announcing his new party just a few metres awayin the Dasarath Stadium. He may not be wrong considering the faces of the new party.
“Bhattarai is doing this all to show Pushpa Kamal Dahal,” the same man said.
Although Bhattarai has announced attractive and ambitious political goal of this party, his goals will do only little to make his party strong enough to deal a meaningful blow to other parties in elections.
Moreover, he will be criticized for the violence that he led for a decade killing innocent people. He is now separated from the Maoists and termed the communists of Nepal as hypocrites but he has not yet termed the so-called people’s war as wrong move.