Leaders Of Socialist Front Of Nepal Demand Change Of Name For Koshi Province

Kathmandu, September 13, 2023: Leaders of the Socialist Front of Nepal, which comprises four communist parties including Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led CPN (Maoist Centre), CPN (Unified Socialist), Janata Samajwadi Party and the Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand have said they want the name of the Koshi Province changed to reflect its ethnic identity.

Leaders of the front speaking at a gathering said they would gradually become a unified party.

Although three major parties–the CPN-UML, Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre)–had endorsed the name Koshi with a two-thirds majority in the provincial assembly on March 1, the ruling CPN (Maoist Centre) has now reversed its stance following strong protests from indigenous groups of the province.

“Now our party has a clear position on the issue. The name should be changed,” said Hitraj Pande, chief whip of the CPN (Maoist Centre).

On Monday, the Socialist Front organized a rally in Biratnagar, but the province’s name ‘Koshi’ was conspicuously missing on the rally-related posters, banners and publicity materials.

The province saw months of unrest by indigenous nationalities after the provincial assembly endorsed the name Koshi.

Addressing the mass gathering at Biratnagar, Prime Minister Dahal, however, said the ongoing conflict over the name of the province should be resolved through dialogue. “We should seek a solution through talks and dialogues respecting the people’s opinion and not through confrontations,” said the prime minister. He said if the agitators choose confrontations then reactionary forces could benefit from the situation.

The prime minister came down heavily against those attacking the parties and their leaders on social media saying they should be dealt with using a ‘tit-for-tat’ approach.

“I can’t watch [such social media content]. The pictures are disturbing. They [those posting such content] are agents of dictatorship. Attacking democratic leaders with a khukuri? Now, we should take a tit-for-tat approach,” the prime minister said at the gathering. “We should show them that we are still alive by bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the streets.”

On September 6, Nepali Congress Joint General Secretary Mahendra Yadav was violently attacked at Bhrikutimandap in Kathmandu by Shyam Sapkota of Nuwakot district with a khukuri. Yadav was attacked while exiting the premises of the Reporters Club.

The prime minister said he was in an unarmed political war and needed the support of the people. By the term ‘political war’, the prime minister was alluding to his attempts to bring reforms by curbing corruption and making government services more accessible in order to address the growing frustrations and attacks directed at politicians and parties.

He also said the front will come up with a plan for street demonstrations once the ongoing mass meetings conclude after the final one scheduled for the Sudurpaschim province.

Source : https://kathmandupost.com/politics/2023/09/13/socialist-front-wants-koshi-name-changed