Madhesi alliance breaks amid `bribery scam`

Madhesi People`s Rights Forum (MPRF)broke the alliance.

Kathmandu: A key Terai based party, which
was part of the Madhesi alliance, on Sunday decided to break away
from the front over the issue of voting during the sixth round
of Parliament election for a new prime minister, amid a
bribery scandal linking a top Maoist leader.

Madhesi People`s Rights Forum (MPRF), led by Upendra
Yadav with his strength of 25 Parliament Members broke the
alliance in a surprising manner amid a bribery scandal linking
a Unified CPN-Maoists` Foreign Department chief Krishna
Bahadur Mahara.

MPRF decided to break away from the United Madhesi
Democratic Front, and take an independent decision on the
voting today, myrepublica online, the website of Republica
newspaper reported on Sunday.

During a meeting of four Madhesi parties, three
decided to remain neutral while MPRF reportedly said they
would independently take a decision, it said. In earlier
rounds, MPRF had remained neutral as per the consensus
decision of the front.

The MPRF, which has 25 lawmakers in the 601-member
Constituent Assembly, refrained from announcing their
parliamentary party decision, saying that they would announce
it during the electoral process in the House.

It`s noteworthy that 11 among 25 MPRF lawmakers voted
for Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal during the third round
of the election going against the party decision on August 2,
the report said.

MPRF (Democratic), Tarai Madhesh Democratic Party
(TMDP) and Sadbhawana Party, who together have 57 lawmakers,
decided to remain neutral during today`s vote.

Yadav had been an ally of the Maoists in the past and
but he had joined the Madhesi Front in the pretext of fighting
for the cause of the rights and greater representation
of the Madhesi people.

The party suddenly broke alliance with the front and
political analysts see role of the northern neighbour in
breaking the alliance.

The party, however, boycotted Sunday`s election for
the post of Prime Minister, but highly placed sources claimed
that during the next round of voting on September 7, the
lawmakers belonging to the Madhesi party are most likely to
vote in favour of Maoist chief Prachanda.

The Madhesi Front had remained neutral during the last
six rounds of voting for the post of Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Nepali Congress general secretary
Bimalendra has demanded probe into the matter relating to the
audio tape in which Maoist Foreign Department chief Krishna
Bahadur Mahara had sought Rs.50 crore from China to buy 50 MPs
to get Prachanda elected to the high post.

"It is very objectionable that money from a
neighbouring country played role in the election for Prime
Minister," he said and demanded immediate investigation
into the matter.

A wiretap yesterday alleged that the Maoists have
sought Rs 50 crore from China to "buy" lawmakers to get their
supremo elected to the coveted post.

In a telephonic conversation, the tape of which was
leaked to the media here yesterday, Mahara was purportedly
heard asking an unknown Chinese official for Rs 50 crore to
buy 50 MPs, apparently from Terai-based Madhesi parties which
have been boycotting the polls.

However, Mahara, in a statement, dismissed the tape as
"fabricated, misleading and fictitious."

Extracts of the alleged conversation were carried by
`The Himalayan Times`, which said that Mahara agreed to meet
the Chinese official in Hong Kong after seeking Rs 50 crore.

The audio tape was also broadcast by local TV channels.
There is growing speculation in the media that there
is division among the Madhesi parties over remaining neutral.

It was reported that the alliance of four Madhes-based
parties witnessed a virtual split today after failing to reach
a joint decision on voting in the sixth runoff vote. The
United Madhesi Democratic Front (UMDF) leaders, however,
claimed that their alliance remained intact.


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