Morcha to suspend protests for festivalsThe agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) has decided to withdraw protest programmes in various districts but will continue its demonstrations at major border points.
The agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) has decided to withdraw protest programmes in various districts but will continue its demonstrations at major border points.
The Morcha decided to open market places and ease vehicular movement in Tarai-Madhes soon but would continue to picket major entry points from India, said a Madhesi leader.
A top SLMM leader told the Post that the demonstration and obstruction at major Nepal-India customs points would be withdrawn after Phulpati. “We were ready to withdraw all protest programmes in view of major festivals such as Dashain, Tihar and Chhath but Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato objected to it,” said the leader.
The decision to continue with the agitation at border points was taken amid growing criticism of the Morcha leadership from their cadres who questioned the Madhesi lawmakers’ participation in Parliament during the prime minister’s election, said another leader. “The SLMM leaders are at a loss how to take their agitation forward and second-rung leaders in the districts and cadres are angry with the leadership,” said another leader.
At a press conference in the Capital on Tuesday, the SLMM leaders neither announced postponement of the ongoing agitation in the Tarai nor called for strong demonstrations. They also expressed their readiness to end the stalemate through talks while accusing the government of not being serious about it.
Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahanta Thakur rued that the government had not invited the SLMM dialogue team for talks even a week after its formation. Thakur said “we understand” the people’s wish for the shutdown to be relaxed for the festivals, adding that the SLMM was holding internal discussions on it.
Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav said their agitation would continue until the rights and interests of the Madhesi, Tharu and oppressed communities were guaranteed. He said that their participation in the PM election on Sunday should not be construed as the Madhesi parties’ acceptance of the new constitution. “We attended the prime minister’s election for bringing our struggles on the streets and Parliament together and with deference to the Supreme Court order that the lawmakers should not abstain or stay neutral in the election,” he explained.
The SLMM also concluded that the situation had complicated further with the ruling side not taking seriously the agitation in the plains running close to two months.
3-pronged strategy to end current crisis : DPM Thapa
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa has said that the government has adopted three-pronged strategy to resolve the current fuel and other crises along with standoff with India.
Finding a political solution to address the issues of the Madhes-based parties is on top of the government agenda, Thapa said at a programme in the Capital on Tuesday. “The government is committed to talks with the agitating parties,” he said, adding that the government had already called those parties for dialogue on the eve of the festival.
He clarified that the government was trying to resolve the current obstruction at the border crossing through a diplomatic channel to ease the supply of essential goods.
“We will hold talks with India. A diplomatic channel has already opened up and we hope to have positive outcome soon,” he said.
He added that stocks of daily essentials would be mobilised on the basis of short-, medium- and long-term plans to prevent a possible supply crisis during the festival.
When asked about the new government’s foreign policy priority, Thapa said the Oli-led government would maximise its effort to strengthen bilateral relations with neighbouring countries while upholding national interests on the basis for Panchaseel, non-aligned doctrine and UN charter. Good and positive initiative taken by the erstwhile government will continue, he said.