SLMM gives talks a missSamyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM), an alliance of four Tarai-based parties, refused to sit for talks with the government on Monday, accusing the latter of ignoring their call
Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM), an alliance of four Tarai-based parties, refused to sit for talks with the government on Monday, accusing the latter of ignoring their call to bring a clear outline on federal structure.
Morcha leaders had agreed to sit for dialogue following a meeting with the government talks team on Sunday.
Redrawing federal provinces in the Tarai to “reflect Madhesi population” is one of the major demands of the SLMM, which has been protesting in the Tarai region for more than past two months.
“Dialogue between the government and Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha scheduled for Monday has been put off [after] realising that additional homework is needed for the same,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa tweeted.
Morcha leaders, however, said that they refused to sit for talks after finding that the government was unprepared to discuss the issues related to federal demarcation.
“Furthermore, we had demanded official clarification on the use of force in Birgunj, but that did not happen, which makes it clear that the government is not serious about resolving the crisis,” said Laxman Lal Karna, co-chair of Sadbhawana Party, one of the constituents of SLMM. Interlocutors said that efforts were being made to resolve the differences through “backdoor negotiations” after formal dialogue failed to give a way out. Leaders from both sides said that redrawing federal boundaries continues to remain the major bone of contention, while most other issues have been “more or less settled”.
“Reviewing federal boundaries is our main demand and our protest will not stop unless that demand is addressed. It is useless to pursue dialogue if the government doesn’t want to discuss it,” said Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav said.
The protesting SLMM, which had walked out of the Parliament, had decided on Saturday to return to the assembly from Sunday. SLMM, which has 35 members in the Parliament, however, obstructed House proceedings on Sunday, saying that it was in line with SLMM strategy to put pressure on the government from both the street and the assembly.
Tarai parties want NC in dialogue
The agitating Madhes-based parties have demanded representation of the opposition Nepali Congress in the dialogue team charging that the government was not serious about resolving the crisis.
The largest party, which is in the opposition, has been pressing the government to immediately start the process to amend the constitution that the Sushil Koirala government had started. The regional parties have demanded changes in up to 102 provisions of the new constitution.
Addressing Parliament on Monday, Tharuhat Tarai Party Nepal lawmaker Gopal Dahit said the talks have no meaning without the NC’s involvement.
The eight agitating parties that returned to Parliament on Sunday first time after the prime ministerial election on October 11 have been obstructing the House business in order to build pressure from both the streets and Parliament.
The disgruntled parties said they will continue to obstruct Parliament unless the government addresses their demands. The House failed to get into business for the second consecutive day on Monday.