UDMF, major parties inch closer to resolve crisis

Kathmandu, January 7

The meeting of two task forces formed by the three major parties and the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front concluded on a positive note, here today.

A member of the task force of major parties and NC leader Mahesh Acharya said during the meeting the agitating UDMF task force agreed to form a committee to complete its task in a certain time frame on specific Terms of Reference.

He said there were several documents provided by the Constituent Assembly, including the reports of its committees and commissions, to discuss as a reference.

According to Co-Chairman of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Rajendra Shrestha, it is for the first time the representatives of the major parties dwelt on the 11-point demands of UDMF. He termed it a positive development.

During today’s meeting, Nepali Congress leader Mahesh Acharya proposed to revisit the reports of both the State Restructuring Committee and State Restructuring Commission of the first Constituent Assembly, Shrestha said.

Shrestha, who is a member of the UDMF’s task force, said Acharya proposed that the reports of the State Restructuring Committee and State Restructuring Commission could be made Terms of Reference for the discussion to resolve the existing crisis.

He said CPN-UML and Unified CPN-Maoist were for dealing only with the two issues included in the constitution amendment bill, but UDMF rejected that outright, claiming that they were for a package deal on 11-point demands.

Shrestha said they also dwelt on completing technical work within next three months.

He said the UDMF was for managing the seat distribution on geographical and identity basis as well but the existing structure of the districts should be dismantled first.

NC leader Acharya said today’s meeting was meant to be a confidence building measure. He said he would join the intensive discussion between the two task forces on Saturday.

Unified CPN-Maoist leader and Home Minister Shakti Basnet, who was present in today’s meeting on behalf of party General Secretary Krishna Bahadur Mahara, also said the meeting concluded on a positive note though no concrete decision was taken.

Today’s meeting of the UDMF constituents also concluded without taking any decision. “We only assessed the progress of our agitation today and the meeting would continue tomorrow,” Shrestha said.

He added that the United Democratic Madhesi Front’s general strike would continue to focus on highways and custom offices. Sources claimed that the leaders’ opinions differed on extending the general strike.