No headway in govt-MJF talks

Kathmandu, August 20:

The government and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF) talks teams could not make any breakthrough on major issues raised by the latter, though the meeting continued till late tonight at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction.

One of the major demands raised by the MJF talks team, led by Upendra Yadav, is that a commission to recommend on restructuring state must ensure autonomy of federal state with right to self-determination without affecting the national sovereignty and integrity before the CA polls.

Another important issue, according to MJF talks team members, was that the MJF team demanded that a legal provision which states that a party contesting the constituent assembly

election in less than 20 per cent of the total 480 seats (240 seats based on constituencies and 240 seats on proportional representation) be scrapped.

The legal provision related to constituent assembly states that a party contesting election in less than 20 per cent seats does not require to field candidates on proportional representation manner. MJF leader Yadav had said that the legal provision as “discriminatory” against the smaller parties.

The meeting was called after PM GP Koirala intervened on Sunday and instructed government talks team leader and Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Ram Chandra Poudel to restart the talks to find an amicable solution to the Madhesi issues before the MJF’s central committee meeting in Birgunj on Wednesday.

Poudel told the media that they were yet to reach a consensus on the nature of federalism. He said that the government was ready to form a commission to recommend on restructuring the state before the CA polls. “We have proposed that the commission will submit its final report to the constituent assembly about the model of federal system of governance after carrying a thorough study all aspects of the federalism.”

The MJF leaders, however, insisted that the commission must ensure a provision right now that the federal state would be given autonomy with the rights to self-determination without affecting the national sovereignty and integrity. “This is the major bone of contention between the government and the MJF talks team,” said a MJF leader.

The MJF leaders are also learnt to have demanded that Madhesi’s representation in the constituent assembly must be ensured according to the total population of the Madhesis in the Tarai.

The total population of the Madhesi stands at 31.2 percent of the country’s total population. But the talks teams had not entered the issue till the report was filed.

MJF’s view

RAJBIRAJ: The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum central member Kishor Kumar Biswas on Monday said there was no meaning of holding talks with the government. The MJF did not find the government positive about the MJF demands, he said while speaking at a gathering of senior party cadres. The party’s sessions on August 22 and 23 in Birgunj would announce new plans, he said. — HNS