NC, UML spat over constitutional issues worry Madhesi leaders

Kathmandu, October 3

The agitating forces are worried about differences between Nepali Congress and CPN-UML on constitutional issues.

UDMF leaders say the government’s decision to move constitution amendment bills in the Parliament had attempted to meet some demands of the protesting Madhesi forces, but the move was not enough. UDMF leaders also say that the big three parties needed to focus on addressing the concerns of protesting forces instead of haggling over power sharing.

Co-Chair of Sadbhawana Party Laxman Lal Karna said United Democratic Madhesi Front was not getting any positive signal from the big three parties and if they failed to address the concerns of the protesting parties, the ongoing movement could be prolonged.

Tharu and Madhesi forces have been agitating for the last 49 days and have also been imposing blockade at the border entry points for the last 10 days.

General Secretary of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Sarvendranath Shukla said UDMF would review its agitation tomorrow and might consider easing it, keeping in mind the Dashain and Tihar festivals.

“But our agitation will continue until our demands are met,” he said, adding that the government’s decision to register constitution amendment bill in Parliament was a positive move, but not enough. He said the government did not address the boundary issue yesterday which was the Madhesi forces’ main demand.

“If the government does not address this concern, then there can be fiercer agitation,” he warned.

Shukla said the big three parties were not serious about the concerns of protesting parties and were rather obsessed with government formation issues.

SP Co-chair Karna said their movement had become people’s movement in the Tarai.

“Madhesis are saying that they are ready to suffer consequences of the agitation, but they want to fight the final battle for their rights,” Karna said, adding that the people of Madhes were overwhelming in their support for the agitation.

He said Nepali media outlets were underestimating Madhes movement and wrongly blaming India for the blockade. “It is us who have imposed blockade on the border. If you go to the Tarai, you will see people setting barricades in almost every village, every entry point,” Karna said.

Karna said if the big three parties fail to remain united, they might not be able to address the protesting parties’ concerns and in that case, the protesting parties might have to fight a long battle.

The talks team formed by the big three parties failed to hold dialogue with UDMF leaders or the leaders of Bijay Kumar Gachhadar-led Federal Democratic Alliance yesterday and today.

Talks team member and UCPN-M negotiator Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the talks team failed to hold dialogue with the protesting parties yesterday mainly due to differences between NC and UML.

Shrestha said they were about to hold dialogue with Gachhadar today, but could not do so due to the latter’s busy schedule. He said the talks team would hold negotiation with Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Chair Mahantha Thakur and Gachhadar tomorrow as well as the top leaders of the big three parties.

General Secretary of Sadbhawana Party Manish Kumar Suman said SP Co-chair Karna, Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Chair Upendra Yadav and Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party-Nepal Chair Mahendra Ray Yadav would come to Kathmandu from the Tarai to hold negotiations with leaders of the big three parties.