| May 19, 2019

Madhesi parties' talks ultimatum ends today

No preparations in sight
KATHMANDU, April 12: With the ultimatum given to the government by agitating Madhes-based political parties to resolve differences over provisions related to provincial boundaries, citizenship and electoral constituency delimitation in the new constitution ending on Tuesday, the two sides reported no progress in the matter on Monday.

The two sides haven't even held talks in weeks let alone making any progress.
In the past, such talks were held at various levels and different committees were formed with a view to expedite the dialogues.

On February 18, a day before Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's visit to India, a cabinet meeting decided to form an 11-member political mechanism headed by Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa to hold dialogues with the disgruntled Madhesi political parties.

The committee hasn't even added a single member so far and it has not been able to do anything for obvious reasons.

After a series of cross-party negotiations, top leaders from the major political forces and Madhesi political parties entrusted a cross-party taskforce with the responsibility of formulating Terms of References (ToR) for a commission that is to be formed to study federal issues and recommend solutions to resolve boundary disputes.

But members of the taskforce haven't succeeded in finalizing the ToR for the proposed commission.

Mahesh Acharya of Nepali Congress (NC), Agni Kharel of CPN-UML, Krishna Bahadur Mahara from UCPN (Maoist), Rajendra Shrestha of Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN), Laxman Lal Karna of Sadbhavana Party and Ram Naresh Rae Yadav of Tarai-Madhesh Democratic Party Nepal were members of the taskforce.

"The government's recent activities have proved that the leaders from the ruling parties haven't been acting responsibly at all for resolving the disputes related to the new constitution," Shivaji Yadav, chief whip of FSFN, told Republica. "The ultimatum given by us is ending tomorrow [Tuesday]. If the government continues act in the same manner, we will make a serious decision soon."

However, a member of the taskforce from the ruling party claimed that the Madhesi parties weren't sincere toward resolving the disputes.

"They don't want to resolve these issues for now. They are working under a different strategy. They want to prolong this situation, dissolve the present parliament and hold parliamentary elections as they think that they can win more seats amid the fluid dissatisfaction among their constituencies against ruling parties," said the leader, requesting anonymity.