CPN-UML averse to boundary revisionLeaders of the ruling CPN-UML have rejected the demand of the Madhesi parties to redraw the borders of the federal states arguing that any revision could invite another crisis in the country.
Leaders of the ruling CPN-UML have rejected the demand of the Madhesi parties to redraw the borders of the federal states arguing that any revision could invite another crisis in the country.
Local leaders including chiefs of the party’s Tarai district committees suggested that the party leadership need not bow to any “pressure” to revisit the demarcation. They said the federal map should not be changed without forging a broader consensus.
A majority of leaders representing the plains spoke in favour of putting the Hills and Tarai areas together while federating the country for the sake of prosperity and communal harmony.
A majority of leaders from Tarai districts said changing the existing federal set-up does not resolve the prolonged crisis, according to UML deputy spokesman Surya Thapa.
The party concluded that the decision to carve out a separate province in the Mid West under local pressure was a mistake. The UML expects protests in other parts of the country such as the East and the West if the provincial boundaries are changed once again. The meeting, however, mandated the party to move the Constitution Amendment Bill tabled by the erstwhile Sushil Koirala-led government to address the demands of the Madhes-centric parties without further delay. Leaders from 22 Tarai districts and senior party leaders discussed ways to end the Tarai stalemate. The meeting also concluded that anti-constitution protests in the plains were provoked by “external forces” and some leaders “rejected by the people in the Constituent Assembly elections”.
Misinterpretation of the new constitution was also blamed for the agitation. Senior leaders are set to reach out to the Tarai constituencies through mobilisation of local leaders and cadres. “Rallies and interactions will be held in the Tarai for three months in the presence of senior leaders,” said Thapa.
UML Chairman and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is scheduled to address a mass meeting in Kailali on December 18. The party also decided to “retaliate” if ‘anti-constitution forces’ obstruct the constitution awareness campaign.
A 16-point proposal endorsed by the meeting to address the ongoing impasse stresses social campaigns to end stigmas and discrimination in the Tarai.
The UML gathering expressed its serious concern over the humanitarian crisis caused by India’s blockade for the past two-and-a-half months. Stating that the border obstruction is against the UN Charter, the Saarc Charter and bilateral relations, the meeting urged India to ease cross-border supplies.
“We failed to address the demands of the Madhesi
people on time. Taking advantage of our delayed response, the Madhesi Morcha rallied people against the new constitution,” said UML leader and former prime minister Jhala Nath Khanal. He said the problems of Madhes should be solved internally through dialogue.
(With inputs from our Chitwan correspondents)