Sadbhawana Party move catches allies by surprise

  • Decides to change forms of protest in Tarai-Madhes
- ROSHAN SEDHAI, Kathmandu

Jan 3, 2016-

Surprising its allies, the Sadbhawana Party has announced new forms of protests in the Tarai.

The Sadbhawana Party, one of the four constituents of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, was until a few days ago against withdrawing border-centric protests and its Chairman Rajendra Mahato had been leading demonstrations at border points. 

In a series of protest programmes announced unilaterally by the SP on Saturday, two days ahead of SLMM’s scheduled meeting, the party has said it will focus on non-violent activities like mass prayers in memory of deceased protesters, fasting, signature campaign and campaigns to internationalise Madhesi issues through social media. The SLMM is scheduled to hold a meeting on Monday to make changes in its forms of protests.

Morcha leaders and party insiders said Sadbhawana Party’s “unexpected decision” means Mahato is in bid to make it clear that his party alone is not objecting to lifting the blockade.

Mahato, who was injured in a clash with police in Biratnagar, is undergoing treatment at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon, India. 

 “By announcing separate protests, our party has made it clear that we are not against lifting the border blockade,” said a Sadbhawana Party leader. “Our party is not involved in black-marketeering as alleged by some Morcha leaders,” he added. 

During a recent meeting, top leaders of other parties in the Morcha had criticised Mahato’s unsuccessful attempt to disrupt Biratnagar entry point. Leaders of other parties had also accused Mahato of giving bad image to the protests by getting involved in black-marketeering. 

Mahato, on his part, has been accusing Morcha leaders of staying in Kathmandu than leading protests on the ground. 

Sources say Mahato is also under pressure from India, which has viewed him as a person responsible for delay in lifting the blockade. 

Published: 03-01-2016 08:41

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