Kathmandu, February 21
CPN-UML leaders Pradeep Gyawali and Subas Chandra Nembang today held talks with second rung leaders of the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal and asked them to join the KP Sharma Oli-led government.
Gyawali said his party told the FSF-N leaders that since the left alliance had got people’s mandate at the centre and six provinces and since the FSF-N and RJP-N had the people’s mandate in Province 2, his party wanted the two Madhesi parties to join the left alliance’s ‘great campaign of building the nation.’
“They showed concern about amendment to the constitution and we told them that the constitution was a dynamic document which could always be amended on the basis of necessity and rationale,” Gyawali said, adding that the talks ended on a positive note. Gyawali said his party would also hold talks with the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal.
Asked if the left alliance wanted to induct the FSF-N and the RJP-N mainly to amend the constitution to introduce directly elected executive system in the constitution, Gyawali said it was merely a speculation. “We have not thought about it at this stage,” he added. In the past, the UML advocated directly elected prime ministerial system while the CPN-Maoist Centre was for a directly elected presidential system.
UML leader Nembang also attended the meeting and said his party was trying to induct two Madhesi parties to maintain cordiality with all the parties. He said his party wanted to implement the pledge it had made during elections.
FSF-N leader Ram Sahay Yadav, said that his party told the UML that if the latter agreed to amend the constitution to address its demands, then his party could think of joining the government.
According to Yadav, UML leaders told the FSF-N leaders that they were ready to amend the constitution on the basis of necessity and rationale and they would discuss the FSF-N proposal with the top UML leaders.
“UML leaders agreed that the constitution needed to be amended. We will now see how they want to meet our demands,” Yadav said, adding that his party would discuss the issue once the UML came with its proposal on amending the constitution. He said his party also told UML leaders that it would be better to form a task force to work on constitutional issues.
Another UML lawmaker Raghuvir Mahaseth said the UML-led government had comfortable majority in the Parliament, yet it wanted to give the message that it was not against the ‘genuine demands’ of Madhesi forces. “We want to discuss with the Madhesi parties what issues can be addressed,” he said, adding that Madhesi forces should not raise unrealistic demands that were not in the interest of the country. “Our party is in favour of respecting all languages, but Madhesi parties should not advocate making Hindi another official language,” he said and added that other demands of Madhesi parties could be addressed keeping in mind the interests of all regions — mountains, hills and the Tarai.
RJP-N leader Rajendra Mahato said the Madhesi parties could join the government only when the constitution was amended to address their demands.
He said the UML had not approached his party to join the KP Sharma Oli-led government. He also said that his party had told the FSF-N not to join the left alliance government.
“We have been fighting for the amendment and we should not join the left alliance’s government until we succeed. We do not want empty assurances,” he added.
Revision of provincial boundaries is one of the key demands of Madhesi parties.
A version of this article appears in print on February 22, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.