Major parties fail to appease agitating front

Kathmandu, January 3

The government and the main opposition party today failed to appease agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front.


Today’s meeting of the stakeholders the ruling coalition parties CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist, the main opposition Nepali Congress and agitating UDMF concluded with a decision to expand the existing task force by including a UDMF representative to try and forge consensus on the ways to address the front’s 11-point demands.

The meeting held at Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s official residence in Baluwatar late this evening decided to include a representative from UDMF in the task force that includes Unified CPN-Maoist General Secretary Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Nepali Congress leader Mahesh Acharya and CPN-UML Vice-Chair and Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Bhim Rawal.

According to UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s new Personal Assistant Jokh Bahadur Mahara, UDMF was yet to name its representative.

Following the meeting, leader of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Hridayesh Tripathi, however, expressed doubt over the work of the task force.

NC Vice-President Ramchandra Paudel said the three major parties had urged UDMF to be part of the task force to work on amendment of new constitution and demarcation of provincial boundaries.

However, the UDMF leaders said they would take a decision in that regard after consulting all the UDMF leaders later.

Tripathi said the UDMF’s border-based agitation would continue and the front would announce to intensify its agitation, as the major parties’ leaders were not ready to address UDMF’s demands.

UML leader Bhim Rawal said the major parties urged UDMF to ease the blockade and proposed to set up a task force to resolve the Tarai crisis, the UDMF leaders said they would send their representative only after intra-front discussion on the issue.

Senior leader of Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba, who left the meeting venue before the meeting could conclude, said there was indication that parties would forge consensus within a day or two as the dialogue has been positive.

Co-chair of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Rajendra Shrestha said the major parties proposed UDMF to send its representative to the existing task force and help resolve the Tarai crisis.

During the meeting, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur warned the leaders that ongoing UDMF agitation could turn into a secessionist movement and urged the major parties to act before it was too late.

Thakur also warned that the government would be responsible for the consequences if they forcibly endorsed the amendment bill, as was done while promulgating the constitution.

Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato is in New Delhi for health check-up and in his absence Manish Suman said his party, which is a constituent of UDMF, would not take part in any dialogue with the government unless the government apologised for attack on party chair Mahato.