MPRF-R in troubled waters

KATHMANDU, March 28: The Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Republican has seemingly gotten into trouble after the party Chairman JP Gupta was sent to jail on the charge of corruption. A day after the party recommended the prime minister to sack agriculture minister Nandan Kumar Dutta, the party on Tuesday unanimously elected a new parliamentary party leader. [break] Lawmakers close to the party establishment faction elected acting party Chairman Raj Kishor Yadav as the successor of JP Gupta, keeping Dutta and lawmaker Raj Lal Yadav, who is also the parliamentary party´s secretary, in the dark, further widening the conflict in the party. “Our acting chairman was elected parliamentary party leader as no other party lawmaker staked claim for the post,” MPRF-R General Secretary Atmaram Sah told Republica. Party Chairman Yadav said they have formally informed CA Chairman about the party´s new parliamentary party leader Tuesday evening. “No one informed me and Rajlal Yadav about the party´s decision to elect a new parliamentary party leader,” added Dutta. Sah, however, said that a notice regarding the election had been pasted at the parliamentary party office in Singha Durbar asking interested party leaders to file their candidacies. Party lawmaker Sabita Yadav proposed Acting chair Yadav for the post of parliamentary party leader while BP Yadav seconded her. When asked if they would accept the new parliamentary party leader, Rajlal Yadav said, “We can do nothing other than to accept Raj Kishor Yadav as the new parliamentary party leader as the acting chairman commands support of the majority.” According to Sah, the parliamentary party has authorized the acting chairman to pick new ministers from the party. “I will hold a discussion in the party and take decision regarding new ministers from the party within two/three days,” acting chair Yadav told Republica. Meanwhile, Dutta has expressed displeasure over the party´s recommendation to sack him. “I was not given a chance to defend myself,” Dutta said. He stated that neither his party nor the prime minister informed him about their decision to sack him. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai sacked Dutta on Monday acting on the recommendation of MPRF-R leadership. “I called up the prime minister and asked him why I was sacked,” said Dutta adding, “He told me that he took the decision under pressure and told me to meet him Tuesday morning.” Dutta said he would formally resign if the prime minister asks him to do so. “I am just unhappy about the way I was sacked,” stated Dutta adding, “It proves that the prime minister takes unethical decisions to remain in power.” He opined that the prime minister does not want to irk leadership of Madhesi parties fearing withdrawal of their support to the government. Dutta claimed he has been receiving threats not to make any public statement regarding the latest development.