Morcha obstructs House after its addressThe Parliament meeting on Sunday, which the Madhes-based parties attended for the first time since October 11, failed to enter into regular business following obstruction by the regional parties.
The Parliament meeting on Sunday, which the Madhes-based parties attended for the first time since October 11, failed to enter into regular business following obstruction by the regional parties.
Eight Madhes-based parties obstructed the House as part of their strategy to draw the government’s attention to their demands immediately after an address by senior leader of Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal Ashok Rai.
Morcha leaders tried to obstruct the meeting as soon as it started by rising from their chair. However, after Speaker Onsari Gharti’s assurances that they would get time to speak, Madhesi leaders sat through until Rai had presented his views.
The Tarai parties had announced on Saturday their plan to attend the House meeting as per their strategy to build pressure both from the streets and Parliament. The eight parties, with 40 seats in total, had boycotted the polls in Parliament except that of the prime minister.
Rai told the House that the protesting parties were serious about the problems facing the people due to the agitation and were ready to resolve the issue through dialogue. He asked the government to address the commitments it had made to create an environment for negotiations.
Rai claimed that the government was yet to provide compensation to the families of those killed in protests. It had not released protesters nor provided free treatment for the injured. The dialogue team led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa had pledged to address the demands forwarded by the Madhesi parties as pre-condition to further dialogue.
The regional parties blame the government’s reluctance to redraw the federal boundaries for the lack of progress in talks. The parties, which are demanding two provinces in the plains, said the protest would continue unless the government agrees to redraw the state borders.
Recent talks between the government and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, an alliance of four Madhes-based parties, had in principle bridged the differences on most issues except state delineation. Talks were derailed by violent clashes between police and protesters last week in Birgunj, where an Indian national was killed.
“The government is still not serious about resolving the crisis,” said Rai. Immediately after his address, the disgruntled lawmakers picketed the rostrum and chanted slogans in the House.
Earlier, addressing the meeting that commenced two hours late, Nepali Congress acting president Ram Chandra Poudel had asked the government to start the process to amend the constitution and to endorse the bill on Reconstruction Authority. He asked the ruling alliance to prepare ground for resolving the lingering crisis through constitution amendment.
“Parliament is the only legitimate body to resolve all the problems. The NC wants both the government and the protesting parties to use it for a solution,” he said. Another meeting of Parliament has been scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Dialogue with govt today
The government and the agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha are set to sit for talks on Monday.
Morcha leaders, who had threatened to boycott dialogue following violent clashes between police and protesters in Birgunj last week, agreed to resume stalled dialogue after a meeting with the government’s talks team on Sunday.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa held a discussion with Morcha leaders after the House meeting on Sunday. Thapa tweeted that the talks would be held at 1pm in Singha Durbar.
Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party General Secretary Sarbendra Nath Shukla and Sadbhawana Party Co-chair Laxman Lal Karna talked to the team.
Karna, however, said it would be more of an informal meeting. “We have demanded official clarification on the Birgunj incident. Morcha would take further decision based on the justification he [Thapa] provides,” said Karna.