Four major parties Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist) and the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik have decided to take the statute drafting process and dialogue with the agitating parties together.
One of the preconditions set by the agitating Madhes-based parties and Tharu groups is to halt the ongoing constitution drafting process in the Constituent Assembly. With more conditions, formal negotiations between the government and the agitators could be delayed. The four parties are, therefore, planning to address the demands at the political level.
The agitating parties are of the view that constitution drafting should be moved through consensus among the parties in the CA by halting the ongoing process. A meeting of the four parties held at the PM’s residence in Baluwatar on Sunday decided that the demands such as the Army’s withdrawal from riot
zones and free treatment for injured could be considered. NC Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel confirmed the decision.
As the ‘olive branch’ offered by the government did not attract the agitating forces, the parties decided to appeal to them to come to the negotiating table once again. The three-day time given by PM Koirala to the protesters to join talks expired on Saturday with no substantial outcome.
If the agitating parties/groups are ready for dialogue, the Special Committee of the Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee will discuss the issues with them.
While formal talks between the government and the agitating Tharu groups are yet to begin, the parties have begun consultations to find a way to address the demands of the Tharus in Kailali. One option being discussed is to split the Tharu-dominated part of Kailali to be merged with a Madhes province. According to sources, senior NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba and UML leader Bhim Rawal, who had opposed the idea, are now flexible on their stance.