Mahato’s remark riles UDMF constituents

Kathmandu, February 7

Sadbhawana Party Chairperson Rajendra Mahato’s recent statement about the ongoing Madhes agitation has angered other constituents of the United Democratic Madhesi Front.

UDMF sources said Chair of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Upendra Yadav and Chief of Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party-Nepal Mahendra Ray Yadav had expressed their displeasure with other UDMF leaders over Mahato’s statement that he had delivered in Biratnagar a few days ago.

Mahato had said that the UDMF should blockade all the border entry points and if it could not do that, then it should not blockade any border entry point.

A second rung leader of the UDMF said the front had made up its mind to lift its blockade of Birgunj-Raxaul border entry point but that should have been announced by the front and not by an individual leader before the meeting of the front.

“Mahato’s statement has weakened the ongoing Madhes movement but I do not think it could lead to a situation of division in the UDMF,” the leader said.

A source said FSF-N Chair Yadav told UDMF leaders that when he requested Mahato to come to Kathmandu for dialogue with the major parties,

he opted to remain in the Tarai, but when Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli called him to come to Kathmandu he hurriedly came to the capital. “What did Mahato talk to Oli for 20 minutes over phone?” the source quoted Yadav as asking the UDMF leaders.

UDMF sources said displeasure about Mahato’s statement was the main reason why the UDMF had not been holding its meeting for the last few days. Upendra Yadav and Mahendra Ray Yadav could not be contacted for comments.

General Secretary of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Sarvendranath Shukla said some UDMF leaders were unhappy with Mahato for his recent remarks about the agitation. He said TMDP Chair Mahantha Thakur was trying to reconcile the differences between the leaders.

“I hope that the misgivings do not lead to a division within the UDMF,” Shukla added. He said unity of the UDMF was necessary to win rights for Madhesis and other marginalised sections of society.

General Secretary of SP Manish Kumar Suman said lifting of Birgunj-Raxaul border blockade should not be a matter of prestige for any leader.

“I am confident that Mahato’s statement would not lead to division within the UDMF. He said UDMF leaders were trying to hold its meeting as soon as possible to discuss their future agitation strategies.

Parliamentary Party leader of FSF-N Ashok Kumar Rai said he was out of the capital and was unaware of the latest development within the UDMF but

Mahato’s statement would not lead to a division within the UDMF. “Front is an alliance of parties with different ideologies and it is natural for the front constituents to express their opinions at times on various issues,” he said.