KATHMANDU, May 19: Inter-party talks on the constitution amendment bill and increasing the number of local units in tarai districts as demanded by various Madhes-based political parties have failed to make any headway. The talks were convened by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
Leaders of the major ruling parties as well as the opposition and agitating Madhes-based parties failed to find any solution even as the second round of local polls in the remaining four provinces is fast approaching.
Leaders from Rastriya Janta Party Nepal (RJPN), newly formed by six Madhes-based parties, insisted on its demand for increasing the number of local units in Tarai-Madhes districts while the main opposition CPN-UML said any such decision ahead of the local elections was unacceptable.
Prime Minister Dahal convened the meeting to find a solution to the demands of the Madhesi parties and bring them on board the elections.
“At the meeting today [Friday] we reiterated our demand for constitution amendment and increase in the number of local units in the tarai, but we couldn’t make any progress,” RJPN leader Anil Jha, who was present during the talks, told Republica.
According to Bikram Pandey, general secretary of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), leaders from the ruling parties requested the Madhesi leaders to participate in the elections. “But the Madhesi leaders reiterated that they wouldn’t join elections without first amending the constitution. Also, UML leaders said that making any changes to the local units and the constitution wasn’t possible ahead of the elections,” said Pandey. “The meeting then concluded without any progress.”
The fourth largest party, RPP, which was in government at the time of registration of the constitution amendment bill in parliament, had back then committed its support for endorsing it. Pandey, however, said that any changes in the bill wouldn’t be acceptable to the party, which has now quit the government.
Earlier in the day, a meeting among leaders from both agitating and ruling Madhes-based parties was unable to reach any conclusion.
Deputy Prime Minister and Local Development Minister Bijay Gachchhadar, RJPN Chairman Mahantha Thakur and Chairman of Federal Socialist Forum Nepal Upendra Yadav, among others, held a meeting to forge a common understanding about getting their demands fulfilled by the government.
At the meeting, Thakur and Yadav told Gachchhadar that an additional 260 local units were needed.
“However, there was no positive response from the government side. So, the meeting of the agitating political parties tomorrow [Saturday] is likely to announce fresh protest programs,” said RJPN leader Keshav Jha. “We now have no option left other than to go to the people.”