Morcha puts caveat to join govtWill a change of guard mean a resolution to the long-drawn Madhes crisis?
Will a change of guard mean a resolution to the long-drawn Madhes crisis?
even Madhes-based parties under the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) though have expressed commitment to support the CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress (NC) to form a new government after indications that the two parties would act to address their demands, they have their own set of reservations.
Amid Maoist-NC alliance’s efforts to form a new government, top leaders of the SLMM have said the NC and the Maoist Centre should register a fresh amendment proposal at Parliament “if they are serious about taking the Madhes-based parties on board the government formation process”, in an indication that some sort of trust deficit still continues.
“The SLMM will soon reach out to the NC and Maoist leadership to discuss what can be done at the moment,” said Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party General Secretary Sarbendra Nath Shukla. “We are hoping for the best, as leaders from both the parties have stressed that they are willing to resolve the Madhes crisis.”
But, even if the proposal is registered, it will need the backing of the CPN-UML, which appears certain to sit in the opposition, for it to get endorsed in Parliament.
While the Morcha feels the UML always treated it and its demands, particularly one related to redrawing of provincial boundaries, with contempt, the UML maintains that the agitating parties themselves were not serious about resolving the crisis through talks.
However, Madhesi leaders said the proposal, irrespective of whether it gets support for endorsement, would give the agitating parties a moral ground to join the government or at least support it from outside, besides giving “credible assurances” that their demands would be addressed in course of time.
Though NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal have made a joint commitment to resolve the Madhes crisis, the parties have yet to spell out how they intend to do it.
According to Shukla, the Madhes-based parties are seeking a package deal on all their demands, including the issue of federal boundaries. While the SLMM has forwarded its 11-point demand, the Sanghiya Gathabandhan, a larger alliance comprising the SLMM and Janajati forces, has put forth 26-point demand, and redrawing of federal boundaries is one of the demands.
“The issue of federal boundaries will be the starting point of our negotiations with the NC-Maoist alliance. There aren’t many differences among political parties on other issues,” said a Madhesi leader.
Sadbhawana Party Co-Chair Laxman Lal Karna said the SLMM allies are waiting for a written commitment from the NC and the Maoist Centre before taking any decision on the NC-Maoist alliance’s bid to form government. “We are open to the possibility of joining the government if the first and third largest party make credible assurances that our demands will be addressed. We will see what they have to offer,” said Karna.
Many of the SLMM allies have stood in favour of joining the government after there is “a symbolic deal” on redrawing of federal boundaries. They say the Morcha could rake in “strategic and practical” benefits by being in the government in view of the local, provincial and federal elections that need to be held in the next 18 months.