Big 3, MJF-L deal stuck on wordingEven as leaders from both sides have narrowed down “almost all” outstanding differences, talks between the three major parties and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik (MJF-L) could not produce tangible outcome following contention over the terminologies of proposed agreement letter.
Even as leaders from both sides have narrowed down “almost all” outstanding differences, talks between the three major parties and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik (MJF-L) could not produce tangible outcome following contention over the terminologies of proposed agreement letter.
Leaders engaged in negotiations, however, remain hopeful of consensus with the both sides making efforts to seek acceptable words.
At a meeting held at Prime Minister’s official residence in Baluwatar on Friday, the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) stood by their decision of Thursday evening to address concerns of the agitating Madhes-based parties.
However, the MJF-L leaders walked out of the meeting expressing dissatisfaction over the use of the phrase “some parts of the country” in the agreement instead of “Tharuhat-Madhes”.
Emerging from the meeting, MJF-L General Secretary Ram Janam Chaudhary said, “CPN-UML Chair KP Oli and other leaders of three major parties didn’t want to mention the word Tarai-Madhes in the agreement.” He, however, said that talks are underway to find a possible solution to the impasse. UML leader Bhim Rawal, NC leaders Sher Bahadur Deuba and Krishna Situala were also against the use of the word. “We cannot mention Tharuhat/Madhes in the agreement,” a leader who was present in the meeting quoted Oli as saying. The major parties have agreed to proportional and inclusive representation and partially uphold provision of the Interim Constitution to determine electoral constituencies.
The two sides have also agreed to assign a commission with the task of drawing the federal boundaries. It was not immediately clear whether the two sides had reached an agreement to address the demand for Tharu and Madhesi pertaining to state demarcation.
Though the MJF-L has been demanding the revision of the proposed federal set-up, the major parties have so far pledged to announce Tharu stronghold from Nawalparasi to Kanchanpur as autonomous or special region.
On the margins of the meeting at Baluwatar on Friday, MJF-L Chairman Bijay Kumar Gachhadar held a separate meeting with PM.
Talking to media after the meeting, NC Vice-president Ramchandra Poudel said they were closer to consensus but confusions over some technical matters had stalled the agreement. “Almost all matters have been sorted out, we will reach a conclusion soon,” he said.
MJF-L Chair Gachhadar said the agreement could not be reached as the major parties remained reluctant to address the demands of Tharus and Madhesis for making the constitution “more meaningful”.
He said he had stood for agreement despite threats from some of his colleagues to quit the party.
“I don’t what kind of constitution are three parties trying to bring keeping 13.5 million people dissatisfied,” he said.