Maoist chair takes ‘tough line’ on Madhesi demandsA day after the promulgation of the new constitution, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal took “a tough line” on some of the demands of the Madhes-based parties while seeking to address their ‘genuine concerns.’
A day after the promulgation of the new constitution, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal took “a tough line” on some of the demands of the Madhes-based parties while seeking to address their ‘genuine concerns.’ He began his address to the public in Tundikhel quoting a poem by Poet Laureate Madhav Ghimire that poses existential question for Nepalis: ‘Where would Nepalis go, if Nepal didn’t exist.’
“Madhes has gained the most under federalism in the constitution; Madhesi are the sole group that gained a province solely based on identity,” said Chairman Dahal.
“Madhesi demands on proportional representation and delineation of electoral constituencies based on population have been met.”
Expressing his readiness to sit in talks with the agitating Madhes-based parties to resolve issues concerning demarcation of provinces, Dahal told the Madhesi leaders and public that they can count on him to champion their ‘genuine concerns’.
“I assure you that you will find me an ally for all your genuine concerns,” Dahal said. Chairman Dahal expressed his gratitude to the international community, including India, China and the United Nations for their assistance in constitution writing. On India, Dahal didn’t hide his frustration. “We will address their interest and concern as a good neighbour. But we cannot be expected to take orders.”
“Neighbours respecting our sovereignty can only enhance their own sovereignty. As a good neighbour of India, we are always concerned about their genuine needs and concerns,” said Dahal, adding that Nepalis always want to be good friends and neighbour to India and never a “yes man”. He called on the government and people of India to appreciate this fact.
CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli said the demarcation of provinces was designed to keep Nepalis sovereign and to preserve territorial integrity. “We couldn’t endlessly delay the constitution,” said Oli, reiterating that ‘genuine concerns’ can still be accommodated.
Nepali Congress President and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said the parties are open to a constructive dialogue to resolve all disputes.