KATHMANDU, Jan 23: At a time when second-tier Madhesi leaders have been questioning the progress on issues raised by their parties, top leaders of the ruling United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) remain divided over whether or not to stay in the UCPN(Maoist)-led coalition.
At a meeting of the Madhesi alliance held at Gokarna on Tuesday, Chairman of Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar, MPRF-Republican Chairman Rajkishor Yadav and Tarai Madhes Democratic Party-Nepal (TMDP-N) Chairman Mahendra Yadav said they should stay in the present government while Chairman of Sadbhawana Party Rajendra Mahato maintained that the alliance should quit the government if the government cannot address issues raised by them.
Though TMDP Chairman Mahantha Thakur acknowledged that the alliance had made little progress on issues raised by Madhes-based parties, he remained ambivalent on whether they should continue to stay in the coalition.
"Things are moving ahead in a positive manner," a Madhesi leader quoted Gachchhadar, who is also Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, as saying at the meeting, adding, “We cannot quit the government to invite further uncertainty."
According to leaders present at the meeting, Gachchhadar maintained that the Madhesi alliance also should take initiatives to forge consensus with the three major parties -- UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML-- to resolve the present crisis.
TMDP Chairman Mahantha Thakur said that UDMF had failed to make satisfactory progress on Madhesi issues. “Though we had planned to struggle from the government, streets and parliament for our cause, we could not make our presence felt in the government,” another Madhesi leader quoted Thakur as saying.
MPRF-Republican Chairman and Information and Communications Minister Raj Kishor Yadav and TMDP-Nepal Chairman Mahendra Yadav, who is also Irrigation Minister, maintained that the Madhesi alliance should struggle from within the government for Madhesi causes.
However, Chairman of Sadbhawana Party (SP) and Health Minister Rajendra Mahato said there was no point in Madhesi parties staying in the government if can not implement issues raised in the four-point agreement.
"We failed to make progress on recruitment of Madhesi youths in the national army, though the defense portfolio is held by a Madhesi leader," the leader quoted Mahato as saying, adding, "We could not address the problem related to citizenship while the home ministry is held by a constituent party of the UDMF."
Senior Vice-chairman of MPRF-D Rameshwor Raya Yadav stated the UDMF should not lose its existence for the sake of the Maoist party. “The Madhesi alliance should be aware of UCPN (Maoist)´s tendency to cheat others," he added.
Spokesperson of SP Santosh Mahato argued that UDMF should take to the streets.
According to Vice-chairman of SP Laxman Lal Karna, the meeting will hold discussions on the status of various ordinances forwarded the government to the president, review the progress made by the government on the four-point agreement between the UDMF and UCPN (Maoist) and the role of UDMF in resolving the present political and constitutional deadlock. He said the meeting would continue on Wednesday.
The leaders said the Madhesi alliance will come up with a common view on resolving the present political and constitutional crisis.