NC leaders skip meeting with Prez

Kathmandu, December 14

President Bidya Devi Bhandari today invited top leaders of the ruling parties, the principal opposition Nepali Congress and the United Democratic Madhesi Front for a dinner meeting, but three NC leaders who were invited did not attend the meeting.

According to President’s Personal Secretary Bhesh Raj Adhikari, the President had called NC President Sushil Koirala, Vice President Ram Chandra Paudel and senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba. Adhikari said the NC leaders’ might have failed to attend the meeting   due to their busy schedule.

Unified CPN-Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who attended the meeting, however, said that he heard that all three top leaders of the Nepali Congress informed the host that they were not feeling well. “If these leaders were not feeling well, they could have deputed their representatives,” said Shrestha.

He said NC Vice President Paudel was with him at a meeting in Singh Durbar today 15 minutes before the scheduled meeting with the President.

According to Adhikari, the President wanted to know from the leaders why the Reconstruction Authority Bill remained stuck in the Parliament and why the Madhes agitation had not been addressed even after four months.

The President told the leaders to pass the Reconstruction Authority Bill and resolve the Tarai unrest without further delay, he said.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli told the President that the parties had together fought for democracy and they should work with the same spirit to resolve current political problems, according to Adhiakri. The PM also told the Head of State that efforts would be made to end House obstruction.

Chair of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Mahantha Thakur told the President that the United Democratic Madhesi Front was ready to end its agitation if the the major parties demonstrated flexibility to address their concerns.

In response to Thakur’s concern, PM Oli said the ruling parties were ready to address the genuine demands of the agitating forces.

When asked about the reasons behind the absence of top NC leaders at the meeting called by the President, NC Spokesperson Dilendra Prasad Badu said he was not aware of the meeting.

The meeting was attended by PM Oli, Unified CPN-M Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum- Democratic Chair Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, TMDP Chair Mahantha Thakur, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal leader Ram Kumar Subba, CPN-UML leaders Jhala Nath Khanal and Ishwar Pokharel.

Chair of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Upendra Yadav, who had received invitation for the meeting, could not attend the meeting as he was in Pokhara today.