PM Dahal still hopeful of pact with UDMF

Kathmandu, April 3

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had assured United Democratic Madhesi Front leaders on Friday that he would reach a conclusion on constitutional issues in a day or two, but he has failed to keep his word.

According to the Prime Minister’s Political Adviser Chakrapani Khanal, the PM held discussion with Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba yesterday and would soon hold discussion with CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli.

According to Khanal, the PM would also hold discussion with Rastriya Prajatantra Party Chair Kamal Thapa before meeting senior leaders of the UDMF.

Khanal said the PM wanted to help seal a deal in two to three days. The PM is trying to convince both the UDMF and the UML to moderate their stances so that there could be an agreement. “If the UDMF is ready to resolve issues relating to the  revision of provincial boundaries after the local polls and the UML agrees on other issues, including citizenship, language and delinking of voting rights of the chiefs and deputy chiefs of local levels, an agreement will be possible soon,” Khanal said.

He added that if the government decided to increase the number of local levels in Madhes as demanded by Madhesi forces, the government might have to hold local level polls in Madhes in the second phase. The government has announced that it will hold local polls on May 14.

Khanal said Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal became the executive chief on the promise that he would take Madhesi forces on board the poll process and he was trying to fulfil his pledge.

The Prime Minister’s Press Adviser Govinda Acharya said the PM was trying to hold bilateral, trilateral and multilateral meetings with stakeholders so as to reach an agreement on constitutional issues. He said the PM was in favour of addressing those concerns of the UDMF on which all the major stakeholders agree. He said the PM was also thinking of resolving certain issues, on which parties might not agree at this stage, after local polls. Acharya said the PM was also in favour of putting the constitution amendment bill to vote in case there was no agreement between the political forces.

The PM had also told UDMF leaders that he would seek revision of provincial boundaries through a powerful commission after local polls but before parliamentary and provincial elections.

General Secretary of National Madhes Socialist Party Keshav Jha said the PM had told UDMF leaders in a meeting held on Friday that he wanted to sort things out in a couple of days because the Election Commission had advised him that if he wanted to forge consensus with the UDMF, he should try to do it by April 3, the day it would start printing voter identity cards.