Negotiation with dissident parties beginsFirst time since the promulgation of the constitution on September 20, three major parties have begun formal talks with the Madhes-based parties to seek a solution to the prolonged dispute.
First time since the promulgation of the constitution on September 20, three major parties have begun formal talks with the Madhes-based parties to seek a solution to the prolonged dispute.
A cross-party panel comprising Forest Minister Mahesh Acharya, UML Chief Whip Agni Kharel and UCPN (Maoist) Vice-chair Narayan Kaji Shrestha talked separately to leaders of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha and the Bijay Gachhadar-led Sanghiya Loktantrik Morcha on Monday.
During talks with Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur at his party office, the government’s panel urged Madhesi leaders for seriousness in ending the ongoing crisis, pledging to address the latter’s “rightful” demands. The three parties also requested the agitating forces to end their current form of agitation.
In response, Madhesi leaders criticised the major parties for failing to come up with a common position on the disputed issues including state demarcation one and a half months after their protest began. They asked the leaders to create an environment for talks by withdrawing the security forces, providing compensation to the families of the deceased and free treatment for the injured, and releasing leaders arrested during the protest.
“The meeting has set a positive tone for dialogue,” said Maoist leader Shrestha.
He called on the three parties to come up with their common position before the next round of talks.
The key disputes are over the number of provinces, basis for state demarcation and inclusive and proportion representation, said Shrestha. These can be addressed through constitution amendment, he added. The two sides have decided to sit for talks again on Tuesday.
“We asked them to make their position on our demands clear. They seem unwilling to engage in substantive discussion on the contentious issues,” said Hridayesh Tripathi, a TMLP leader.
The three-party interlocutors have asked for some time for consultation on their common position, according Madhesi leaders.
In a separate discussion, the cross-party talks team also urged Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik Chairman Bijay Kumar Gachhadar to stop the agitation.
“We repeated our previous stance. Major parties should come with a solution without delay,” said MJF-L leader Ram Janam Chaudhary.