SLMM mulls ending border obstructionsPOST REPORT

- Post Report, Kathmandu
We are holding discussions to seek other alternatives to obstructions at border points as they are causing great difficulties across the country Mahantha Thakur

Dec 30, 2015-The Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) is mulling over withdrawing its border-centric protests. But it has a rider for that: Major parties have to revise the Constitution Amendment Bill, deliberations on which began in Parliament on Monday.

“We have been holding discussions to seek other alternatives to obstructions at border points as they are causing great difficulties across the country, including in Madhes,” said Mahantha Thakur, Chairman of the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP), one of the key constituents of the SLMM. “But it will be too early to talk about the exact date [for withdrawing the protests]. For this, the major parties need 

to agree to revise the amendment bill to address our concerns.” 

According to Thakur, the next meeting of Morcha scheduled for January 3 could take a decision to this effect. However, the SLMM may not take a categorical decision on withdrawing its border-centric protests, said sources at the SLMM. “Instead, the Morcha will redirect its cadres to other forms of protests,” they said. 

The SLMM has been obstructing border entry points with India, mainly the Birgunj-Raxaul border crossing, for the last three months, expressing reservations about the newly adopted constitution. Thakur said the Morcha was “positive” about redrawing the federal map through a high-level political committee in the next three months, as proposed by the government, “if major parties agree to amend the provision pertaining to constituency delineation and proportional and inclusive representation in line with Morcha’s 11-point demand”. 

The SLMM leadership has been pressing major parties to make population the sole basis for delineating the electoral constituencies and determine number of provincial representation in the national assembly. 

“The meeting point will be retaining the provision(s) ensured in the Interim Constitution. But surprisingly they [major parties] are not ready to do that,” said Rajendra Shrestha, Co-Chairman of Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal 

(SSF-N). 

Major parties—the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist)—have been jointly working to revise the amendment bill to bring the agitating parties on board before endorsing it through Parliament. 

Published: 30-12-2015 08:46

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