3 competing proposals fail to end deadlock on demarcationThree competing proposals from the major parties on addressing the dispute over demarcation, a major bone of contention, failed to lead to breakthrough
Three competing proposals from the major parties on addressing the dispute over demarcation, a major bone of contention, failed to lead to breakthrough in the talks between major parties and Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM).
In the first formal negotiation on Sunday led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, top leaders of the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) stressed that they were positive on addressing Morcha’s “valid concerns” over demarcation. Each party, however, floated different options to revise the boundaries.
The UCPN (Maoist) has proposed to immediately settle the issues on state boundaries based on political understanding, while the NC proposed to carry out the work through the formation of a high-level mechanism comprising all concerned sides, including Madhesi parties. The UML, on the other hand, proposed to wait for the recommendation of federal commission before making any changes.
“We have asked the top leaders to come with a substantive proposal. It’s impossible to reach to any sort of agreement without prior understanding among
major parties,” said Ashok Rai, senior leader of the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal (SSFN).
UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal insists on an immediate settlement on the state delineation, adding that the major parties would come up with a common position before sitting in the next round of talks.
“Our party is in favour of resolving all issues, including demarcation, without delay based on political agreement. Since NC and UML have been proposing other alternatives, we would soon make our decision what to do based on mutual decision,” Rai quoted Dahal as saying.
Madhesi parties have demanded to federate 20 Tarai districts into two provinces. Speaking on behalf of Morcha, SSFN Chairman Upendra Yadav urged the major parties to abide by the past agreement signed with the Madhesi parties. He also rejected requests to stop protest at the major border points with India. “We made them clear that protests at the border will stop only if our demands are addressed. It would be unfortunate if they didn’t address the concerns immediately,” said Yadav.
During the meeting, NC Acting President Ram Chandra Poudel proposed to forward two amendment proposals registered at Parliament after making necessary changes as demanded by the Madhesi parties.
The NC-led government had registered an amendment proposal that seeks to ensure proportional and inclusive representation in all state bodies and delimit electoral constituencies based on population.
Poudel, however, said that the issues related to state delineation should be settled through a high-level political mechanism that includes Madhesi parties.
“NC wants to take forward the amendment proposal with the consent of Madhesi parties,” said Poudel, adding that the meeting could not make any tangible progress on the demarcation issue raised by the Madhesi parties.
Senior NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba and UML’s Jhal Nath Khanal were also present in the meeting, representing major parties. Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahanta Thakur, Vice Chairman Hridayesh Tripathi, Sadbhawana Party Co Chair Laxman Lal Karna represented the Madhesi parties.