Birgunj border blockade not enough to pressure govt, claims Mahato

Kathmandu, February 4

Chairperson of Sadbhawana Party Rajendra Mahato said the United Democratic Madhesi Front should either blockade all the border entry points or none.

Of late, the UDMF has been obstructing passage of goods only on Birgunj-Raxaul border entry point and Mahato said it was not enough to pressure government.

He said if the UDMF could not blockade all the border entry points then it should conserve its energy for now to impose blockade at all the entry points later.

Mahato said the UDMF’s calculation that blockade of Birgunj-Raxaul border entry point would force the government to address its demands did not work and only led to black marketing, making people’s lives miserable.

Mahato said the top Madhesi leaders needed to leave Kahmandu and stage sit-in on the border entry points if they wanted to make the ongoing agitation a success.

He said other leaders of the UDMF should have gone to block Biratnagar-Jogbani border entry point after he was injured in police action there.

“Our agitation cannot succeed unless all the top leaders of the UDMF come to Madhes to enforce blockade of all the border entry points,” he said and added that the current mode of the agitation should change.

General Secretary of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Sarvendranath Shukla said the UDMF would discuss its agitation strategies in the next meeting.

He said if the talks between the task forces of the UDMF and the major parties proceeded positively, UDMF would relax its agitation, including border blockade, but if that did not happen, it would only complicate matters.

Shukla said if the government became obstinate, the UDMF would intensify its agitation by forming a grand alliance and seeking support of the southern neighbour.

“All the political forces have sought India’s help in the past when the government acted with dictatorial mindset and if the current government showed the same mentality vis-à-vis Madhesi forces, they too would be compelled to seek support from their relatives and well wishers in India,” Shukla said.

He added, “When one is in trouble, the first thing s/he does is to seek neighbour’s support.”

The TMDP leader said if the major parties and the government agreed to settle the boundary issue in two-three months by making the terms of conditions of the political mechanism, then the crisis might be resolved soon.

Shukla said the major parties had verbally assured UDMF in the last inter-party negotiations to make ToR part of constitution and if they stuck to it, both sides might reach a deal soon.

Co-chair of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Rajendra Shrestha, however, said the UDMF would not withdraw any of its protest programmes until there was an agreement with the government and the major parties.

“If the government sincerely tries to find solution to current standoff, we might find a solution. It all depends on the government’s attitude,” he added.