Formation of 'mechanism' to sort out boundary row likely tomorrow

    Binod Ghimire, Feb 13 2016

    The agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha and the major parties have inched closer to an agreement to form a political mechanism to sort out the differences over provincial boundaries.

    Both sides have agreed, in principle, to from the mechanism, develop its Terms of Reference (ToR) and get it endorsed by the Legislature-Parliament before Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli embarks on his official visit to India.

    PM Oli is set to leave for New Delhi on February 19.

    A meeting between the taskforces of the three major parties—the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the UCPN (Maoist)—and the SLMM in Baluwatar on Friday agreed to give three months to the to-be-formed mechanism to find a meeting point on state boundaries.

    The parties could not sign a deal on Friday as Morcha leaders called for the ToR before signing the agreement.

    Top leaders of all the parties were present during Friday’s meeting.

     A meeting called for Sunday is likely to sign the agreement, provided there is a progress in finalising the ToR.

    The Morcha has demanded that the mechanism be authorised to recommend, if necessary, two provinces in the Tarai.

    However, the major parties are against the Morcha’s demand.

    “The mechanism will be formed only after its ToR is finalised,” said Sadbhawana Party Co-Chair Laxman Lal Karna, adding that the parties are “inching closer” to a deal. “I am hopeful of an agreement before the next meeting.”

    Leaders of the Madhes-based parties had asked PM Oli to resolve disputes at home before leaving for India.

    Pramod Dahal, press adviser to PM Oli, said that Friday’s meeting was “very positive” and chances of an agreement on Sunday to set up the mechanism are high.

    He said a three-party meeting held immediately after the meeting of the taskforces decided to exhibit maximum flexibility for the ToR.

    If an  agreement is reached on Sunday, it will be endorsed by a Parliament meeting called for  Tuesday, three days before PM Oli embarks on his visit to India.

    Madhesi fronts merge

    KATHMANDU: The agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) and Sanghiya Samabesi Madhesi Gathabandhan (SSMG)—two rival fronts leading separate protests in the Tarai—announced their merger on Friday.

    The two Madhes-based fronts said they would now form a “grand alliance”. The merger was officially announced at a press conference in Bijuli Bazaar in the Capital on Friday evening. “We have decided to unite and take our ongoing struggle to the conclusion under the banner of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha,” read a statement issued after the press conference.

    The new SLMM comprises seven Madhes-based political parties: Sadbhawana Party, Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal, Tarai Madhes Loktantrik party, Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party, Rastriya Madhes Samajbadi Party, Sanghiya Sadbhawana Party and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Ganatantrik.

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