Madhesi leaders skeptical of new PM Dahal’s promises

Kathmandu [Nepal]: Madhes-based parties are now worried that the new government led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal might ignore their demands of a constitutional amendment.

The Madhesi parties had extended support to a new alliance of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress (NC) as they had promised to address their concerns by amending the constitution.

The Maoist-NC government is believed to working to register a Constitution amendment proposal before September 15, the day Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal will embark on his visit to India, reports the Kathmandu Post.

This has made parties are increasingly getting skeptical as they fear that their “legitimate concerns” might be ignored once again as they believe the government “appears more keen to mend ties with India than addressing their concerns”.

As a result, there could be an “incomplete amendment” again, they say.

Madhesi parties have already expressed their dissatisfaction at the government for giving undue importance to India.

Madhesi leaders suspect that the government has already reached an understanding with New Delhi on the constitution amendment without even starting formal talks at home to end the political standoff.

The CPN-UML, the second largest party in Parliament, has been making similar claims.

Earlier, the UML-led government too had submitted a similar proposal to New Delhi. The agitating parties had then also accused the UML led government of disregarding them.

Madhesi leaders said the Maoist Centre and the NC should hold sincere and open negotiations with the agitating parties in order to find a lasting solution to the current crisis.

Sarbendra Nath Shukla of Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) said that the government should void the mistake the UML-led government made by submitting the four-point non-paper to New Delhi while ignoring the agitating parties.

He said that the issues related to the constitution are Nepal’s internal affairs and solution lies within.

He, however, said that the agitating parties have found the NC and the Maoist Centre more sincere in resolving the crisis than the previous government.

TMLP Vice-chairman Brishesh Chandra Lal said the government should make sincere efforts to address the concerns of the agitating parties without delay.

“Having friendly relations with neighbouring countries is a good thing, but we should not forget the fact that issues related to the constitution are our internal matters,” he said.

Madhesis have been demanding amendment in the seven-province model proposed in the new Constitution that divides their ancestral land as a way to politically marginalise them. (ANI)