| June 27, 2019

Madhesi parties oppose committee formation without ToR

Madhesi parties  oppose committee  formation without ToR
KATHMANDU, Feb 19: The agitating Madhes-based political parties have criticized the government's move to form a political mechanism to resolve disputes over provincial boundaries without first finalizing its Terms of References (ToR) through the joint taskforce.

After two consecutive meetings of the joint taskforce on Wednesday and Thursday ended inconclusively, the cabinet meeting on Thursday night decided to form an 11-member committee led by Deputy PM Kamal Thapa, giving it full shape through political dialogue only after the prime minister's India visit.

"We will not join any committee or mechanism unless a specific ToR is developed through political negotiations. We'll not accept any unilateral move from the government," said Sadbhavana Party Co-Chair Laxman Lal Karna.

Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) Co-Chairman Rajendra Shrestha argued that the move to form the committee is a farce and an eyewash by the government for facilitating the PM's India visit.

"Major political parties had promulgated the constitution unilaterally; they amended it unilaterally without taking the consent of the agitating forces and they are staging another farce," said Shrestha. "We'll pose a serious challenge if the government moves unilaterally, forming a meaningless committee without a specific ToR," he added.

Earlier, the meeting of the joint taskforce on Thursday afternoon ended inconclusive. The taskforce met on Wednesday and Thursday after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said in Parliament that the political mechanism would be formed before his India visit starting Friday.

The meeting was inconclusive as the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) demanded that the ToR for the political mechanism should specifically mention that the provincial delineations should ensure two provinces in Tarai-Madhes, on the basis of the reports of the State Restructuring Commission and the Constituent Assembly Committee on State Restructuring. However, the major three parties argued that a ToR with such a specific mention would end the significance of the mechanism itself.

According to Karna, Deputy Prime Minister Bhim Rawal, who is also vice-chairman of CPN-UML, argued that there would be no significance in having a poilitical mechanism if everything is settled in the ToR itself. "The major parties were in no mood to address the demands raised by the Madhesi and indigenous people," said Shrestha.