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Big 3 to reach out to disgruntled parties

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, Kathmandu

Aug 23, 2015-

In response to protests against their decision to federate the country into seven provinces, top three parties on Saturday decided to reach out to dissidents to address their concerns in the new constitution.

A meeting of top leaders of the major parties entrusted Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to invite the Madhesi, Janajati, Tharu and other communities to the negotiating table. Koirala is likely to address them on Sunday as it was not possible to prepare the document on Saturday due to the absence of staff.

The chances of substantive talks with the dissidents, however, appear slim with the major parties remaining firm on the seven-province model. As agreed, the PM will tell the dissidents that there is still room for revision to the federal set-up. Three-party leaders also discussed some contentious issues such as religion, vote threshold for political parties and citizenship.

According to senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai, who chairs the Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee (PDCC), the parties will try to address the demands raised by Madhesis, Tharus and Janajatis.

Bhattarai held separate talks with Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktan-trik Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar and Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party chief Mahantha Thakur on Saturday. Top leaders will meet Gachhadar on Sunday morning to discuss his concerns. Gachhadar has conveyed a message that he is ready to sit for informal talks with the major parties but will not attend meetings of the Special Committee of the PDCC. As the CA is set to receive the final draft of the constitution on Sunday, fringe parties have intensified bandas and protests in several parts of the country.

Major party leaders have concluded that the MJF-Loktantrik’s dissociation will adversely impact the statute drafting process. When the MJF-L was with the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the UCPN (Maoist), there was the message of at least one Madhesi party taking ownership of the new constitution.

NC, UML and Maoist leaders acknowledge Gachhadar’s  role in making consensus politics possible. He was credited  to the improved relations when the NC-UML on one side and the UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based parties on the other clashed in the Assembly over the ruling parties’ move to push through the CA process.

Published: 23-08-2015 08:25

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