Kathmandu, September 18
Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who landed here today, met the top leaders, including Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, and urged them to try their best until the last moment to win the confidence of Madhesis, Tharus and Janajati parties as far as the new constitution is concerned.
In his meeting with President Ram Baran Yadav, PM Koirala, CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli and UCPN-Maoist Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, he conveyed Indian PM Narendra Modi’s concern about the unrest in the Tarai districts. According to PM’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Dinesh Bhattarai, Jaishankar, who is visiting Nepal as special envoy of Indian PM Narendra Modi, told Koirala that Modi was concerned about the spillover effect of Tarai unrest on the Indian side of the border, particularly when state assembly election is approaching in Bihar.
He said India wished to see a peaceful and stable Nepal. “If violence continues in Tarai, we cannot remain unaffected,” Jaishankar told the PM. “We wish to see that the new constitution incorporates concerns of all stakeholders — through dialogue and flexibility.” Jaishankar said lack of support from excluded forces might remain a source of dispute in future. He told the leaders that it would be better to resolve all outstanding issues at once.
According to Bhattarai, Koirala told Jaishankar that both sides should show flexibility. He reminded that the government’s repeated invites for talks were ignored by the agitating parties and stated that the government was always ready to resolve all genuine issues through dialogue.
Earlier, Jaishankar went to UML Chair KP Sharma Oli’s residence in Balkot and talked to him for two hours, including one-on-one talks for almost an hour.
He conveyed Modi’s message that the new charter should ensure the broadest possible consensus among Nepali stakeholders. According to UML Chief Whip Agni Prasad Kharel, Oli said efforts were being made to bring all the forces on board. He stated that the agitating forces’ genuine demands could and would be addressed by amending the document even after its promulgation.
Jaishankar told the President that it would be better for Nepal, and would be a matter of satisfaction for India, if all stakeholders came together to promulgate the constitution, said President’s Press Adviser Rajendra Dahal. The Head of State agreed with him. UCPN-Maoist Chair Dahal told Jaishankar that it would have been better had he come two weeks earlier.
Jaishankar also interacted with United Democratic Madhesi Front leaders Upendra Yadav, Mahantha Thakur, Laxman Lal Karna and Mahendra Ray Yadav. He also met MJF-D Chair Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar. According to Karna, Madhesi leaders apprised Jaishankar of their concerns in the new constitution, including the issues of federalism and citizenship.
A version of this article appears in print on September 19, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.