UDMF Chairperson Thakur rejects NC’s proposal

Kathmandu, November 23

Nepali Congress General Secretary Prakash Man Singh and Spokesperson Dilendra Prasad Badu today urged Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Chair Mahantha Thakur to move the Constitution Amendment Bill ahead and continue holding dialogue on the issues of provincial boundaries, but the latter rejected it.

The United Democratic Madhesi Front, which the TMDP is a constituent of, has been agitating in Madhes for more than three months against the new constitution. The UDMF says the new constitution discriminates against Madhesis.

Badu said he and Singh told the TMDP Chair that since the major parties had already agreed on ensuring proportional inclusion and delineation of election constituencies on the basis of population, it would be good if the UDMF agreed to move these two issues ahead and allow the resolution of boundary issues through a political mechanism.

Badu said both sides deplored the deteriorating security situation in the Tarai and sought resolution of the issues as soon as possible. Badu said they told Thakur that if the Constitution Amendment Bill is to be be passed ,the two major demands of the Madhesi forces guarantee of proportional inclusion and delineation of election constituencies, would be addressed and that could pave the way for settlement of boundary questions later.

According to Badu, Thakur rued the government’s apathy towards the issues of agitating forces.

Thakur told NC leaders that the government was spoiling the environment of dialogue by shooting innocent people on the roof of the house, a reference to the Saptari incident where one man died in police firing when he was sitting on the roof of his house.

Spokesperson for Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Sarvendranath Shukla said party Chair Thakur told the NC leaders that without addressing the boundary question, the Tarai agitation would not end. “If the question of demarcation of boundaries is not addressed, people will not leave the streets,” Shukla quoted Thakur as telling NC leaders.

Shukla said the Madhesi forces’ agitation had now become a people’s movement as large numbers of people were showing solidarity with the movement.

“Four to five thousand people came to the road to block the East-West Highway on Saturday and when such a large mass comes to the road at night, it becomes a people’s movement. Nobody should undermine the Tarai agitation,” he added.

Shukla said 50 people attained martyrdom during the Madhes agitation, and hence without settling the boundary question, protesters would not leave the street.