Trilateral meet fruitless

  • On the bright side, Morcha finds PM’s remarks conciliatory
  • tarai crisis
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 1, 2015-

A tripartite meeting on Monday between the ruling, opposition and agitating parties became fruitless after the participants strayed from the actual agenda and leaders on both sides focused more on sharing hardships faced by the people in the wake of the Tarai crisis.

The meeting was expected to narrow down the differences on all the disputed issues including demarcation of federal boundaries for bringing the disgruntled groups on board.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who had his first formal meeting with the Madhes-centric parties since he assumed office last month, gave the meet dubbed as “decisive” by the government side a “very emotional and personal” opening by appealing to all to give up their rigid stances for an immediate agreement.

“The meeting ended after general discussion on our 11-point demand,” said Laxman Lal Karna, co-chairman of the Sadbhawana Party.

Madhesi leaders said they were surprised by the way PM Oli presented himself at the meeting. Oli had been vocal in denouncing the activities of the Madhesi parties and had maintained a tough line against their demands.

“He presented himself in the humblest manner possible. We found him more serious in resolving the crisis through talks this time,” said a leader who attended the meeting. Cross-party leaders have agreed to meet on Wednesday evening after further internal discussions.

Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha leaders criticised the government for using excessive force to suppress their agitation. Speaking on behalf of the Morcha, Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur expressed his sadness over the way the protesters were treated. He criticised the police for shooting protesters in the head and political leaders for “asking protesters to go to India”.

Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal Vice-chairman Ashok Rai said the meeting ended without discussing the main agenda. “We condemned the government atrocities during the protests. No other issues were discussed,” he said.

Addressing the meeting on behalf of the largest party in opposition, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala reiterated his party’s position for forwarding the amendment proposal registered in Parliament. He, however, said the NC would have to hold internal discussion before making its position public on the demands of the Madhesi Morcha. Morcha leaders rejected the offer arguing that they could not accept the “incomplete” amendment proposal or any deal that does not address the boundary row.

Besides pressing for two provinces in the Tarai, the Morcha seeks amendment to numerous provisions of the constitution pertaining to electoral system, citizenship, and proportional and inclusive representation. 

UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal proposed ditching federalism for the moment and seeking consensus on other issues to end the Tarai standoff.

Published: 01-12-2015 08:33

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