Deal on boundary must to end ongoing deadlock, say leaders

Kathmandu, January 9

Existing multi-dimensional crises facing the country is unlikely to end anytime soon unless the ruling CPN-UML and the main opposition Nepali Congress agree to make changes in the existing seven-province federal model.

Once the major parties strike an agreement with agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front on the issue, the current crisis facing the country would be resolved. But leaders involved in the negotiations are still not confident enough that the CPN-UML and in many cases NC would show flexibility.

UDMF leaders claimed that a few NC leaders were ready for changes in the seven-province federal model but the front is not convinced that they represent the voice of the entire party.

Agitating UDMF has also been keenly watching the role of UCPN-M leaders, who claim to have raised the issues of Madhesis and Janajatis to pile pressure on the ‘conservative forces’ — NC and UML.

UCPN-M Vice-Chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha also said NC and UML were still rigid on the issue of provincial boundaries though NC was positive about managing clusters for proportional inclusion.

“Without ensuring some kind of legal framework on making changes to the federal structure, I don’t think the Madhesi parties will call off their agitation,” he said. Shrestha said the front’s demand for changing existing structures of the existing districts could be resolved through some win-win alternatives.

Co-chairman of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Rajendra Shrestha said the UDMF has formed Federal Alliance, which includes several parties and forces supporting the Madhes agitation, to begin Kathmandu-centric movement if the major parties failed to fulfill their demands.

Asked whether the ongoing talks between the task forces of the government and the UDMF would yield positive results, FSF-N co-chairman Shrestha, who is also the member of the UDMF task force, claimed that it was a positive thing that the government and major parties were ready for point-wise discussions on their 11-point demands.