UDMF tells PM to table bill soon

Kathmandu, October 3

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal today assured the United Democratic Madhesi Front leaders that the government was committed to table a constitutional amendment bill between Dashain and Tihar.

The PM today called the Chair of Terai Madhes Democratic Party Mahantha Thakur, Chair of Sadbhawana Party Rajendra Mahato and Co-chair of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Rajendra Shrestha and told them not to doubt the government’s readiness to table the bill in the Parliament between Dashain and Tihar, according to Mahato.

The PM’s assurance comes in the backdrop of Madhesi leaders’ increasing frustration with the delay in moving a constitutional amendment bill.

Mahato said the PM assured him and Thakur that the government was committed to address the agitating forces’ demands as per the three-point agreement signed between the Nepali Congress, CPN-Maoist Centre and the Federal Alliance.

The PM also told UDMF leaders that the government was talking to political stakeholders and it would start drafting the bill in two to three days, according to Mahato.

Mahato said he told the PM to treat the erstwhile State Restructuring Commission’s report as a reference point while addressing the agitating forces’ demands.

The SRC had proposed 11 provinces with one non-territorial province for Dalits. It had also proposed to create two provinces in the Madhes.

According to Mahato, the PM told him that his party, the CPN-Maoist Centre had accepted the SRC’s report and he was not opposed to the agitating forces’ demand of two provinces in the Madhes. The PM also told UDMF leaders that he would hold dialogue with other stakeholders on their proposal.

“I told the PM that SRC’s report can be a good reference point as it was a result of well-planned research and meticulous work. Carving out provinces along the lines of the SRC’s report can address the concerns of Madhesis, Tharus and Janajatis,” Mahato added.

He told the PM that if the government did not move the constitutional amendment bill soon, the UDMF would be compelled to take to the street again after Chhath festival.

The PM also told the leaders of the agitating forces that the government was committed to withdrawing false cases filed against UDMF cadres.

“The government will soon withdraw those cases that it can do on its own, but as far as other cases are concerned wherein more processes have to be followed, the government will take some time to withdraw those cases,” Mahato quoted the PM as saying.

FSF-N Co-chair Rajendra Shrestha who met the PM separately told him that the FA and the UDMF would not accept the constitutional amendment bill if it was tabled in the Parliament without consulting the two agitating forces.

Shrestha said he told the PM that the government should table the bill with the consent of the signatories of the three point agreement  the CPN-MC, the NC and the FA. He told the PM that the government should not worry about the CPN-UML’s support before tabling the constitutional amendment bill.

“We know that the signatories of the three-point deal alone cannot muster two-thirds majority required to pass any amendment to the constitution. Yet we signed the three-point deal and the government should honour the agreement,” Shrestha said.