UDMF serves ultimatum to PM

Kathmandu, March 8

The United Democratic Madhesi Front today submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal demanding passage of a revised constitution amendment bill and rescinding govt’s decision to hold local polls within seven days, failing which it would withdraw support to the government.

Leaders associated with the front handed over the memorandum to PM Dahal when he invited them for talks in the wake of Monday’s fatal police firing in Saptari that killed four persons.

The UDMF said in its memorandum to the PM that a new government was formed under him to implement the three-point agreement signed between the Nepali Congress, the CPN-MC and the Federal Alliance. “The government, however, announced local poll dates in a way that could sabotage federalism, democratic republicanism and recognition of national identity,” the front said in its memorandum.

The front said that it could not continue supporting the government after the government shot dead seven people, injured dozens and arrested many people in Saptari district. It also demanded parliamentary and provincial elections first and to ensure in the constitution that provincial governments would hold local polls.

The front also demanded immediate implementation of the three-point agreement and martyrdom status for those killed in the Saptari incident, compensation to the victims’ families and free treatment for the injured and release of all the people who were arrested during protests. It also demanded a high level commission to probe the ‘massacre in Saptari.’ According to a press release issued by the PM’s Secretariat, the PM assured UDMF leaders he would hold discussion on their demands with the ruling and the opposition parties and take a decision accordingly.

UDMF leader Rajendra Mahato said he told the PM that without amending the constitution to resolve issues of Madhesis and Janajatis, the country could not move ahead and elections could not be held. “If elections are held without addressing our demands, we will disrupt the polls,” Mahato said and added that if their demands were not met within the stipulated deadline, they would prepare for their movement.

General Secretary of National Madhes Socialist Party Keshav Jha said the PM told the UDMF leaders that he was committed to ensuring passage of the bill and if he were not committed to that, he would have put the bill to vote. The ruling parties’ leaders have been saying that they did not want to put the bill to vote because the bill did not have two-thirds majority in its favour now in the Parliament.

Jha said the PM also told UDMF leaders that it would have been better had they not served an ultimatum.