Morcha denies meetings with secessionist forces

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 5, 2017-Leaders of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, have denied reports that their representatives held a meeting with Independent Madhes campaigner CK Raut in Patna, India. They said that some quarters of media and political parties were unnecessarily dragging the regional parties into controversy although they had no relations with secessionist campaigners including Raut.

“The allegations that we met CK Raut are baseless. How the government treats him [Raut] is none of our concerns. Our agendas are completely different, our politics is different, and our goal is different. We don’t have any relations with the secessionist campaign whatsoever,” said Sarbendra Nath Shukla, general secretary of the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party.

Raut was arrested from Janakpur on Thursday amid pressure from the main opposition UML, which says Raut is carrying out secessionist activities in the plains. Some UML leaders had also alleged that Morcha had ties with Raut and other underground outfits, which could destabilise the country’s southern belt. They also accuse Morcha leaders of meeting Raut and underground outfit leaders in Patna, Bihar, in the past.

Morcha leaders criticised the government for giving too much attention to Raut and his activities. “CK Raut has become like a celebrity. He is seeking to expand his support base. The government and the media are doing exactly what CK Raut wants. They have made him a ghost-like figure in Kathmandu though he lacks support in the Madhes. But the government should stop fearmongering with unsubstantiated claims,” said a leader of the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal.

Shukla said that the perceived fear of CK Raut and his activities is unsubstantiated. He said Raut’s popularity was largely limited to Kathmandu.

“Leaders like Jay Krishna Goit are nowhere in the scene now though they had such a huge appeal and following once upon a time. Raut’s popularity will also fade with time. There is no alternative to moderate forces in the plains. We are capable of challenging the dominance of extremist elements,” said Shukla.

Published: 05-02-2017 08:22

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