UDMF may ease border obstruction

Kathmandu, December 29

Chairman of Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party Mahantha Thakur today said the United Democratic Madhesi Front might consider changes in their agitation, including obstruction on Nepal-India border, to press the government to address their demands.

Addressing a function here today, Thakur said the UDMF would consider changes in the ongoing border obstruction while planning new phase of its agitation to pressure the government to meet its demands.

Thakur, however, said the UDMF meeting on January 3 would decide its next course depending on the action of the major parties and the government.

He said no amicable solution could be found in the talks with NC and Unified CPN-Maoist and alleged that the government did not want to resolve the crisis through talks.

Thakur accused the government of suppressing the Madhes agitation and added that meaningful talks were not possible until the government stopped using force to suppress the agitation.

TMDP spokesperson Sarbendra Nath Shukla said easing the blockade could be on agenda of the meeting of the agitating UDMF to begin on January 3. He said if the government carried on with its strong-arm tactics, the agitating parties would keep obstructing the border entry points.

Shukla claimed that NC and UCPN-M were positive about addressing UDMF’s concerns but UML seemed reluctant to meet UDMF’s demands.

Shukla said the UDMF was yet to receive formal call for dialogue.

UDMF leaders also blamed CPN-UML for being reluctant to end the crisis. Sources claimed that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli wanted to hold talks with Indian leaders rather than Madhes-based leaders to end the blockade.

“The PM seems least bothered about the consequences if the Tarai agitation turns ugly due to the continuous delay in addressing the concerns of UDMF,” the sources said.

The scheduled meeting of the task force comprising UCPN-M’s Narayan Kaji Shrestha, CPN-UML’s Bhim Rawal, who is deputy prime minister and defence minister, and NC’s Mahesh Acharya could not be held today due to Rawal’s absence. Rawal was not available for comment.