UDMF role an issue in Federal Alliance

Kathmandu, May 7

Differences have surfaced in the Federal Alliance, which is spearheading the agitation against ‘discriminatory provisions in the constitution’, over the role of the United Democratic Madhesi Front in the alliance.

A UDMF source said projecting the Federal Alliance as leader of the movement had dampened the spirit of Madhesi activists across Madhes.

“In Birgunj, only 200 to 300 people showed up for a protest programme yesterday. Madhesis say they do not see UDMF banners,” a source added.

The source said Chair of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Upendra Yadav was not giving credit to  UDMF for the movement it spearheaded in the past because he believed that doing so could alienate Janajati groups, but the reality was that in districts where Janajati outfits were supposed to electrify the ongoing movement, they failed to live up to expectation.

The source also said Yadav was trying to increase the number of alliance constituents by adding obscure non-governmental organisations that work for the promotion of Janajati interests.

Sarvendranath Shukla, spokesperson for Tarai Madhes Democratic Party said the UDMF carried the legacy of the Madhes movement and protest programmes should be carried out under the UDMF banner, at least in the Madhes.

“If other constituents of the Federal Alliance do not want to put the UDMF banner in hill districts, that’s fine and if UDMF constituents want to carry only the front’s banner in Madhes that should also be fine,” Shukla said, adding that if the UDMF was not prominently highlighted in the Madhes during the agitation, it could weaken the movement in Madhes.

“But it is not a big issue. I am sure the issue will be resolved once our party Chair Mahantha Thakur returns from India and UDMF holds its meeting,” he added.

Shukla also said it would be wrong to say there was a rift within the Federal Alliance. “I addressed the alliance’s programme yesterday and today,” Shukla said.

Another UDMF source said disenchantment among UDMF constituents was the main reason why Sadbhawana Party, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum – Republican did not attend the Alliance’s meeting yesterday.

FSF-N Chair Yadav, however, denied any wrongdoing and said the UDMF’s role will be crucial in electrifying the movement and there is no bar on the constituents in carrying the banner of the front or of the party they are associated with.

He said all the parties were united under the banner of Federal Alliance and the report that there was rift within the FA was false.

“Mahantha Thakur has gone to Delhi for medical treatment. All other constituents are taking part in the Federal Alliance’s meetings,” Yadav said when asked if a few constituents of the UDMF had boycotted FA’s meeting yesterday.

Yadav said yesterday’s meetings were of various committees and sub-committees and not that of the Federal Alliance.

He said it was the decision of all the constituents to let the Federal Alliance spearhead the movement and that should not be misinterpreted.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa, who heads the political committee formedto settle the questions of provincial boundaries, said at an interaction organised by Reporters Club here today that he would send formal invites to the agitating forces tomorrow requesting them to come to the negotiating table.