We’re no longer with ruling coalition: UDMF leaders

Published On: March 15, 2017 08:29 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, March 14: The United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, is no longer a part of the governing coalition now onward, two senior leaders of the front said on Tuesday.

The leaders said the agitating parties have decided to cut off ties with the ruling coalition accusing Prime Minister Puspha Kamal Dahal of failing to address their demands within the given deadline. 

Last week, the UDMF, a strategically important ally in the coalition, had served a seven-day ultimatum on the government to postpone the local level elections and endorse the constitution amendment bill, which is under discussion in parliament. The ultimatum expired on Tuesday. 

“None of our demands has been addressed so far and there are no signs of them being met. So, we have decided to sever ties with the ruling coalition,” Chairman of Federal Socialist Forum Nepal Upendra Yadav told Republica.

However, the UDMF has not made any formal announcement so far and it remains unclear whether the front would officially inform the speaker about the decision. 

Though the UDMF’s withdrawal of support is unlikely to bring down the coalition, it is certain to widen the rift between Prime Minister Dahal’s government and the agitating parties.

Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) Chairman Mahantha Thakur confirmed the front’s decision to withdraw support to the government but said the UDMF’s allies are still at odds over the process of withdrawal. Some of the UDMF allies have voiced the need for formally submitting a letter of withdrawal to parliament but many others have dismissed any such need.

“We are no longer in the governing alliance.  A meeting of top leaders will decide whether to submit any written statement notifying our withdrawal,” Thakur told Republica. He hinted that the front may not officially notify the withdrawal to the House speaker immediately.

Thakur said that the front’s meeting on Wednesday is also likely to announce further program of protest. 

“There are no options left other than intensifying protest against the polls. But we will keep the doors open for dialogue so as to find political solution,” said Thakur.

Of late, Thakur and other top Madhesi leaders have intensified negotiations with leaders of Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Center) to end the deadlock following Saptari incident but to no avail.

Madhesi parties have put forth constitution amendment and revision in the boundaries of local units as precondition to take part in the local polls scheduled for May 14.

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