Dahal floats new proposalThe highly anticipated talks between the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha and major parties on Wednesday failed to make any substantial progress, especially on the issue of redrawing the provinces.
The highly anticipated talks between the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha and major parties on Wednesday failed to make any substantial progress, especially on the issue of redrawing the provinces. However, a fresh alternative was floated during Wednesday’s meeting to find ‘a solution in a package’ through an all-party parliamentary committee, to which Morcha leaders responded positively.
The proposed committee, an idea floated by UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, can asked to find a solution for all disputed issues, including federalism, inclusion, proportional representation and electoral system. “Dahal stressed on settling all issues in a package through a parliamentary committee - or a high level committee. We told him that we had no problem with the new proposal as long as major parties agreed to address our demands in advance,” Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahanta Thakur told the Post.
According to Madhesi leaders, Dahal had proposed to form a new province comprising Tarai districts—from Nawalparasi to Bardiya. However, there were differences over dividing Morang, Sunsari and Kailali districts. “Major parties have said that they will come up with a concrete proposal in the next meeting,” Thakur said.
Talking to media after Wednesday’s meeting, Dahal said that the meeting was ‘heading towards a positive direction’. “Discussions are underway to resolve all the issues, including state boundaries, in a package,” Dahal said. Major parties and the Morcha have so far been successful in narrowing down differences on other issues.
Major parties have agreed to guarantee proportional and inclusive representation in all state bodies and delimitation of electoral constituencies based on population.
But the Nepali Congress and UML have refused to make any immediate revision in boundaries, fearing that it could antagonise other groups including Janajatis.
Even Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik leaders are not convinced about any immediate change in the federal setup. “The NC and UML are not even willing to think about demarcation, let alone agree on revision. But we will keep pressing for it,” said Minister of Health and Population Ram Janam Chaudhary, an MJF-L leader.
UCPN (M) chair’s proposition cuts no ice with NC, UML
KATHMANDU: Top leaders of the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have expressed reservations about the proposal prepared by UPCN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on revisiting the demarcation of seven provinces by splitting some disputed districts.
The main opposition Nepali Congress had decided to abstain from Wednesday’s meeting that was described as decisive.
The NC decided to stay out of the meeting because it was not informed about the agenda in advance, said NC spokesperson Dilendra Badu after the NC’s office bearers’ meeting held on Wednesday morning. Top NC leaders like former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and party General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who have enormous political clout in the party, are not ready to make any changes to the current seven-province model.
Top NC and UML leadership want to address the issue of demarcation through a political and technical panel and not through a parliamentary panel as proposed by Dahal.
Two former prime ministers from the ruling UML party - Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal - have also opposed Dahal’s proposal.
NC’s Sitaula said that a political mechanism of all concerned political parties and stakeholders can be formed while simultaneously discussing the Bills tabled in the House to amend the constitution.
“The dispute in demarcation of federal units cannot be resolved without the participation and confidence of the Nepali Congress,” said Minister for Law and Justice Agni Kharel.
He said that next meeting will be arranged after holding a meeting with the NC.