Kathmandu, October 14
As the major coalition partners — CPN-UML, Unified CPN-Maoist, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic — squabble over who gets what posts, efforts to find a negotiated settlement with the protesting parties remain halted.
Before the KP Sharma Oli-led government was formed, a three member talks team formed by the big three parties had held a few rounds of informal talks with Madhesi leaders and the talks team formed by United Democratic Madhesi Front, but there has been no dialogue in the last few days.
Upendra Yadav, Chair of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, a constituent of UDMF, said he heard the government ministers making speeches about the need for negotiated settlement of constitutional issues, but the government is not serious about holding talks with them.
He said the government must form a talks team to hold negotiations with protesting Madhesi and Tharu forces. Yadav said they had relaxed their protest in the Tarai keeping in mind the Dashain festival, but the government should not misinterpret it as dwindling support for their movement.
Manish Kumar Suman, general secretary of Sadbhawana Party, a constituent of UDMF, said talks with the protesting Madhesi and Tharu forces should have been the first priority of the new government, but it is busy in dividing the key constitutional posts among the ruling coalition partners.
“This shows that the government is not serious about holding talks with the protesting parties,” he added.
Nepal’s former Ambassador to Denmark Vijay Kant Karna said the talks were not happening because Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was not interested in entering the boundary issues, the major bone of contention.
He said the new government must be ready to discuss provincial boundaries in a new way both with the protesting Madhesi, Tharu forces and the Nepali Congress.
One reason, he said, why talks are not happening is because the ruling coalition is now very busy dividing the key constitutional posts among themselves. He said the Madhes protest was not in the priority list of the UML and UCPN-M.
A government source said a cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow could take decisions about holding talks with the protesting forces.
Another government source said the first Cabinet meeting under the new prime minister had already appealed to the protesting parties to come to the negotiating table.
A version of this article appears in print on October 15, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.