Kathmandu, December 15 United Democratic Madhesi Front today forged understanding with Coordinator of Naya Shakti Nepal to jointly launch a movement if the government moved ahead with the process of holding local polls after postponing the process on the constitution amendment bill. This decision was taken at a meeting between NSN and UDMF leaders where NSN Coordinator Baburam Bhattarai and Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party Chair Mahantha Thakur were also present. According to General Secretary of National Madhes Socialist Party Keshav Jha, Bhattarai told the meeting that he had heard the big three parties had decided to postpone the constitution amendment bill to hold local polls and if that was the case then both forces should launch a joint movement against such a move. The UDMF leaders agreed. Bhattarai told THT after the meeting that his party would be forced to join hands with the agitating forces if the process of the constitution amendment bill was postponed and local polls were held under the old structure because these things would end the political achievements that had resulted from years of struggle. “I was part of the struggle that fought hard for republicanism, federalism, proportional inclusion and secularism. How can I tolerate any attempt to dilute these achievements,” he added. Bhattarai said the first priority of the government and political parties was to fix state restructuring, but the big three parties were trying to hold local polls by postponing state restructuring. That meant that they were trying to divert people’s attention. Bhattarai also said that fixing state restructuring issues would alone pave the way for development and prosperity of the nation. Jha said leaders of both sides agreed to talk to the top leaders of the ruling parties in a day or two to know whether they wanted to postpone the process of the constitution amendment bill to hold local polls under the old structure. “Postponing the process of the constitution amendment bill to hold local polls under the old structure would be counter-revolutionary and that would put federalism in jeopardy,” Jha quoted Bhattarai as telling the meeting. CPN-UML, the main opposition party, is stalling House proceedings in an attempt to block debate on the constitution amendment bill. The government had moved the bill a few days ago in the Parliament seeking to address four issues raised by the agitating forces-revision of provincial boundaries, citizenship, language and representation in the Upper House, but the Federal Alliance and the Jha said Bhattarai wanted to know from UDMF leaders what they had agreed with the ruling parties on the constitution amendment bill and local polls. Thakur told Bhattarai they had conveyed to the government that they would take part in the local polls even if they were held under old structure provided that government start both process side by side- process to hold polls and process to decide on the constitution amendment bill in the Parliament. According to Jha, Thakur also told the meeting that they had told the government that they should ensure that local bodies were put under the jurisdiction of provincial governments. Spokesperson for Sadbhawana Party Santosh Mehta said Bhattarai also told the meeting that Terai districts of Morang, Sunsari should remain in the Madhes province and Kailali and Kanchanpur should remain in Tharuhat province. Meanwhile, Chair of Sadbhawana Party Rajendra Mahato today held telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and inquired whether the government wanted to postpone the process of the constitution amendment bill and hold local polls. Mahato told THT that the Prime Minister told him there was no element of truth in the report that the government was trying to postpone the process of the constitution amendment bill. Mahato said the PM also told him that he looked forward to an extensive discussion with him soon on the political issues.
Bhattarai slams UML’s modus operandi Sindhulimadhi, Dec 15 Naya Shakti Nepal Coordinator Baburam Bhattarai has accused the CPN-UML of trying to undermine progressive national agenda by resorting to extremism. Speaking at a party organised press conference here today, the NFN chief criticised the main opposition for blocking regular parliament proceedings. “What is the UML up to? Is it for or against the constitution that has come at the cost of sacrifice of thousands of people?” he asked, calling on the party to change its modus operandi and facilitate statute implementation. Further, supporting the statute amendment bill, the former prime minister called on the parties to show flexibility for a solution to the present political stalemate. “No party’s agenda can be implemented at once. It happens slowly and gradually. As politics is just another name of compromise, parties should be ready for this at least for the bigger cause of implementing the statute,” he argued. Dwelling on the threat from all sorts of extremism to the country, the former Maoist leader said, “On the one hand, there is this extreme nationalism; while on the other, we have the nationalism championed by people such as CK Raut — both these forms of extremist models pose a threat to the country and its existence.” On federalism, the former Maoist leader doubted the motive of a handful of leaders of the three major political parties. “In the east, there are KP Oli and Krishna Prasad Sitaula, whereas in the west and in Lumbini there are leaders like Sher Bahadur Deuba and Bishnu Poudel and Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, who have been major hurdles in the implementation of the present 7-province federal model,” he said. He also cautioned the parties against resorting to elections as per the old structure. “At a time when we should be holding elections of the province, how can we return to the old model of elections of VDCs, municipalities and wards?” he asked.