Stalemate on UDMF’s demands continues

Kathmandu, January 18

Major political parties CPN-UML, Unified CPN-Maoist and main opposition Nepali Congress today failed to address the demands of agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front.

Earlier they had promised to finalise a deal with UDMF today.

Following the meeting of major parties held in Baluwatar today, UCPN-M Vice-Chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha said UDMF had submitted its proposal in written form and that was a positive development.

He said the major parties would find a solution based on their five-point proposal and the proposal of the UDMF.

Shrestha said the two task forces would try to narrow down their differences and the major parties would dwell on the issues on Tuesday.

He said the NC would discuss the issues within the party and the major parties’ task force would come up with its report, following which the major parties would discuss the UDMF proposals.

However, the UDMF task force member Laxman Lal Karna said members of major parties’ task force told them that Big III were not ready to address their demands. “We told the task force of major parties to consult their top leaders first,” he said, following the meeting of the two task forces late in the evening.

Another member of the UDMF task force, Mangal Siddhi Manandhar, said they were hopeful that their demands would be addressed today but they had to return home disappointed.

Manandhar said they were not ready for identity-based federalism, proportional inclusion and even maintaining the existing clusters, let alone addressing UDMF’s demand to have two provinces in the Tarai-Madhes.

He said they were also not ready to accept the proposal regarding the Terms of Reference of the political mechanism. “They don’t want the nation to be prosperous and their intention was bad,” he said, adding that an intensified agitation would follow if the Big III failed to address the UDMF’s demands.

He added that the major parties also rejected UDMF’s proposal to address the concerns of those affected during the Tarai-Madhes agitation.

Sources close to UCPN-M claimed that UML was still rigid on its stance and it was unlikely to address UDMF’s demands anytime soon.