PM defers tripartite talks as top leaders of UDMF stay away from parleys

Kathmandu, December 2

The tripartite talks among the ruling coalition partners, the main opposition party and the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front scheduled for today were postponed indefinitely with the government and the agitating parties blaming each other for the postponement.

Three major parties the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the Unified CPN-Maoist will meet tomorrow morning to fix a new date for the talks, according to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s Press Adviser Pramod Dahal.

“Today’s tripartite talks were scheduled on Monday in consultation with the leaders of agitating Madhes-based parties. Top leaders of three major parties PM Oli, NC President Sushil Koirala and Unified CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal were scheduled to lead their parties in today’s talks with all seriousness.

However, PM Oli cancelled the talks after he was informed that the agitating parties have assigned their second-rung leaders for the talks while their top leaders are out of valley to take part in a mass meeting,” said Dahal.

The Madhes-based leaders did not give top priority to talks, as they were not in Kathmandu today and it showed that they were not serious about the talks and wanted to prolong their protest, Dahal said.

Tarai Madhes Democratic Party leader Sarvendra Nath Shukla, however, said the UDMF leaders went to Dhalkewar in Dhanusha to address a mass meeting as per their earlier schedule.

“The leaders were miffed at the three major parties, as they did not come up with any concrete proposal to resolve the crisis in Monday meeting. Postponement of today’s talks shows that major parties want to tire us out,” Shukla said. The cancellation of today’s talks was informed to the UDMF leaders by the PM’s secretariat, according to him.

Tomorrow’s three-party meeting will try to arrive at a common stance on the 11-point demands of the UDMF and fix a new date for talks with the UDMF, according to Dahal. “The talks with UDMF are unlikely to be held tomorrow,” he said.

Three major parties are one on addressing two major concerns of the UDMF proportional representation in all state organs and constituency delimitation on the basis of population through amending the new constitution, They, however, say that the issue of boundaries can only be resolved through tripartite talks, Dahal said.

“Since the issue of boundaries is sensitive, it can be resolved only through discussion among the three major forces ruling coalition, NC and the agitating parties,” he said.

Today’s talks were expected to be fruitful, as three major parties NC, UML and UCPN-M had announced yesterday to be flexible on the concerns of agitating parties and had expressed their readiness to climb down from their stance on the issue of boundaries.

Meeting of the three major parties to be held tomorrow morning will focus on possible alternatives to settle the issue of boundaries and they have already made sufficient preparations for the same, claimed sources in the three parties.