UDMF border blockade to continue

Kathmandu, November 18

The much hyped talks between the major parties and the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front ended inconclusively today.

Manish Kumar Suman, General Secretary of Sadbhawana Party, a constituent of the UDMF told THT that today’s talks failed mainly because the ruling parties’ negotiators led by Unified CPN-Maoist Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal proposed to resolve the issue of provincial boundaries either through a parliamentary committee or a political committee which the front rejected.

Suman said the UDMF told the ruling parties that the front was ready to discuss all issues if they came up with their concrete proposals vis-à-vis UDMF’s 11-points demands.

The ruling parties, on the other hand, urged the UDMF to withdraw its blockade of border entry points. The front, however, refused to do so. Suman said a meeting of the front scheduled for tomorrow would discuss its future protest programme and could decide to intensify the ongoing agitation.

UDMF’s blockade of border entry points has led to severe crunch of essential commodities, including fuel and cooking gas, across the country.

Another UDMF negotiator, Ashok Kumar Rai, who is also the parliamentary party leader of the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, said despite an understanding

in the last informal talks between the ruling parties and the UDMF negotiators, the ruling parties failed to come up with a concrete response to their 11-point demands.

“We still want a negotiated settlement on our agendas but the ruling parties are trying to adopt repressive measures. They are not serious about negotiated settlement,” Rai added.

He said the UDMF would be ready to hold negotiations with the major parties the moment they come up with a concrete response to the UDMF’s demands.

UCPN-M negotiator Narayan Kaji Shrestha said they proposed to move constitutional amendment process on the agreed issues, such as proportional inclusion and constituency delineation, immediately and settle the boundary of the provinces either through a parliamentary committee or a high-level political committee but that proposal failed to get UDMF’s nod.

He said the ruling parties decided to hold more talks among themselves and with the NC on the 11-point demands of the UDMF. Shrestha said more talks with the major parties were needed, as the ruling parties, as well as other parties, had not formed a common stance on the UDMF’s demands. He said common understanding among the major parties was necessary to address the UDMF demands.

UDMF was represented by Upendra Yadav, Mahantha Thakur, Hridayesh Tripathi and Mahendra Ray Yadav, among others, while Dahal, Jhala Nath Khanal, Kamal Thapa and Agni Kharel attending the talks on behalf of the ruling coalition.