Dahal’s bid to break deadlock fails again

  • Hopes some breakthrough after returning from his visit to north
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Mar 24, 2017-Hours before leaving for China, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday held discussions with leaders of the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha in a bid to find a way to break the deadlock. 

But PM Dahal’s yet another effort to convince the UML to be flexible on constitution amendment and the Mocha to participate in polls set for May 14 failed to make much headway.

The UML continued to seek details of the issues “in black and white” PM Dahal wanted to resolve and the Morcha maintained that it could consider the government proposal of addressing the row over boundary issues “through a commission in a time-bound manner”.

The Morcha has not given up on its stance that the government should call off local level polls and hold other two elections—provincial and federal. 

At Thursday’s meeting, PM Dahal had urged Krishna Sitaula and Laxman Lal Karna, members of a taskforce formed to seek ways to break the political stalemate, to apprise the leaders of recent developments. 

Subas Nembang, deputy leader of UML’s Parliamentary Party, said the main opposition demanded details on how the ruling coalition and the Morcha were trying to resolve the outstanding issues, including provincial boundaries. “They held discussions on resolving issues related to provincial boundaries before the provincial polls through a commission. But we don’t know how they are planning to finalise it,” Nembang said.

UML Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam was also present in the meeting which was not attended by party Chair KP Sharma Oli. 

Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Chairman Upendra Yadav, who returned from India on Thursday, said though the meeting failed to make a breakthrough, the Morcha could consider resolving provincial boundary issue through a commission, provided that the parties are ready to address the Madhes-based parties’ demands. 

PM Dahal of late has been working to address the Morcha’s demand of constitution amendment by putting the issue related to provincial boundary on hold until provincial elections are held. 

Tarai Madhes Samajbadi Party General Secretary Keshav Jha said the Morcha could take part in the polls if major parties agree to amend Article 274 that bars creation of more provinces in future, form a permanent commission to deal with boundaries and increase the number of local level units.

Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, DPMs Bimalendra Nidhi and Kamal Thapa, Morcha leaders Yadav, Mahantha Thakur, Anil Jha, Rajendra Mahato and Mahendra Raya Yadav among others were present at the meeting in Baluwatar.

Earlier on Thursday, PM Dahal held discussions with UML Chairman Sharma Oli. During the meeting, Nepali Congress leader Sitaula, a member of the taskforce, briefed UML leaders Oli and Gautam about the taskforce’s work. 

On Thursday itself, PM Dahal, who is also the chairman of the CPN (Maoist Centre), told his Parliamentary Party that “everything is on track” and that there could be a breakthrough after his return from China.

The Morcha, which has withdrawn its support to the government saying the government failed to address its demand of constitution amendment, has warned of disrupting polls. The UML has objected to the Morcha’s demand of constitution amendment and pressured the government to focus on elections.

PM Dahal will return from China on Wednesday.

Published: 24-03-2017 08:00

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