Top leaders of the major three parties — Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Unified CPN-M — today decided to appeal to the disgruntled communities to come to the negotiating table.
UCPN-M leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the three parties agreed to appeal to the disgruntled communities to come to the negotiating table assuring them that amendment in the draft constitution was possible in the run-up to the promulgation of the constitution.
Shrestha said his party had serious objections to some provisions of the constitution just as Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic Chair Bijay Kumar Gachhadar had serious objections to the draft constitution; still his party, the UCPN-M, okayed the draft mainly to foil attempts of those forces that wanted to derail the constitution making process.
“We okayed the draft yesterday because we feared that if we too left the Special Committee along with Gachhadar, the constitution making process would come to a halt and forces attempting to derail the constitution would succeed,” he added. Shrestha also said his party was in favour of addressing the concerns of Madhesis, Tharus and Janajatis.
Sources said a statement would soon be issued either by the prime minister or the three parties urging the disgruntled forces to seek resolution of issues through dialogue.
Madhesi parties have said that if the major parties implemented the past agreements signed with Madhesi parties, that would be enough for them and they would not need to hold fresh talks with the major parties.
Earlier a meeting of NC office bearers discussed the possible fallout of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic’s front leaving the four-party alliance.
According to NC Spokesperson Dilendra Prasad Badu, leaders were of the view that the party should try to bring Gachhadar back into the four-party fold and also try to hold negotiations with other disgruntled parties, including the constituents of the United Democratic Madhesi Front.
According to another NC source, yesterday’s demarcation of boundaries was done to suit the interests of UCPN-M, which Gachhadar might have interpreted as UCPN-M strategy to put districts with sizeable population of Tharus — Bardiya, Banke, Dang, Kapilvastu and Rupandehi in the Magar-dominated hill province no 5.
“In order to address Gachhadar’s concerns, half of Rukum district which is now in province 5 and Rolpa can be put into province 6 and hill districts of province 5 Pyuthan, Gulmi, Arghakhanchi and Palpa can be put into province 4. But the dilemma that the NC faces is that this solution might antagonise UCPN-M,” the source added.
An NC source said the PM told the meeting that he had called Madhesi leaders in the past to discuss their grievances and was ready to renew the talks offer, but Madhesi leaders neither rejected his call nor were willing to come to negotiate.
A source said NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi told party leaders he would not accept the deal if the Interim Constitution’s provision was not retained to delineate 165 first-past-the-post election constituencies. The Interim Constitution’s provision ensures constituencies in Madhes in proportion to the region’s population.