Jhapa, March 7

Nepali Congress leader and former finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat today blamed the United Democratic Madhesi Front for yesterday’s tragic incident in Saptari, Rajbiraj, which he said was the result of ‘infiltration of elements with malicious intent’ in the UDMF protest programme.

Speaking to journalists in Surunga of Jhapa today, the NC leader defended the rights of a political party to reach out to the public and put forth its views in a peaceful way.

“I think there was nothing wrong on the part of the CPN-UML to launch its political campaign anywhere in the country in a peaceful way. It was however, wrong to turn a protest programme violent,” he said, adding that the incident had all sides and it was necessary to think seriously about the present political situation facing the country.

Mahat, who arrived in the district as chief guest to a programme of cooperatives here, underscored the difference that cooperatives could make in the development of the country.

“It’s a good sign that 49 per cent of population below poverty line 23-24 years ago has dropped to just 21 per cent or so now. Kudos goes to cooperatives as well for they have positively contributed to this achievement,” Mahat argued.