Oppn decides to sit for talks

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Mar 5, 2015-

Softening its position, the UCPN (Maoist)-led 30-party alliance on Thursday decided to resume formal negotiations with the ruling parties.

Dialogue has been stalled since the Constituent Assembly formed the Questionnaire Committee on January 25 without the consent of the Maoist, Madhesi and Janajati parties.

The door for negotiations has opened after the ruling parties assured that they would not initiate the voting process immediately. The opposition front has also agreed not to unveil the second round of agitation. Pressure on both sides from various quarters to resume talks also played a role in minimising the gap.

The opposition bloc had set conditions that the ruling parties should scrap the ongoing majority process in the CA and revive the consensus path of constitution drafting before formal discussions begin.

A meeting of the opposition alliance that was held to review the first phase of protest decided to sit for dialogue. Opposition leaders now say the preconditions will be converted to demands in talks with the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML.

“There is pressure on us to hit the streets. But the meeting decided to join dialogue after the ruling parties assured us that the contents of the new constitution will be decided through consensus,” Prem Bahadur Singh, spokesman for the alliance, said after the meeting.

The opposition agreed for talks after Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had informal meetings with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Nepali Congress Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel on Wednesday.

The ruling parties assured Dahal that the constitution would be drafted in consensus among the major stakeholders. They told Dahal that they would be pressed to resume the majority process in the CA if there was no progress towards talks.

In the meeting of the opposition alliance, Dahal had a hard time convincing allies for dialogue.

Alliance members were of the view that if dialogue is initiated without the guarantee of consensus, the ruling parties would “deceive” them and initiate the voting process anytime soon.

Dahal assured the leaders that dialogue would not be prolonged this time if there is no breakthrough. He told the meeting that if there is no progress even after genuine efforts, the alliance should unveil another phase of protest.

Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav and Sadbhawana Party chief Rajendra Mahato were rigid in particular that talks should not begin in status quo, according to party leaders privy to the meeting.In the talks with the ruling parties, the opposition will demand scrapping of the ongoing majority process and forwarding the disputed issues to the Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee to make another attempt for settling them there through political consensus.The opposition front, however, is still undecided about attending the CA and parliamentary meetings.

It has been boycotting all the meetings of the Assembly and the House. The MJF Loktantrik, led by Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, however has attended meetings of parliamentary committees.

Published: 06-03-2015 09:06

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