Big 3 must together address Madhes concerns: Experts

Published On: February 24, 2017 01:10 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 24: After months of obstruction by various opposition parties including the CPN-UML, parliament on Thursday was able to hold deliberations on the seven-point amendment bill that was tabled earlier.  

But as the agitating Madhes-based political parties have maintained that the bill must be passed with revisions to ensure their participation in the local polls, there is no certainty yet whether Thursday's development will bring the agitating  parties on board the election process.

Experts argue that it is high time the major parties came together to address the concerns of the agitating parties and fostered an environment conducive to the polls. 

Political expert Krishna Pokharel said the best way out is a 'package deal' among Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center), and a common minimum agreement to address issues raised by the agitating parties. 

"There are three dominant groups in Nepal, namely Khas/Aarya, Janajatis and Madhesis.

Since two of the groups have expressed reservations over some provisions of the constitution, addressing some of their concerns, if not all, is a must to ensure longetivity for the constitution," said Pokharel. 

Although the government has already registered an amendment bill that proposes to take the hill districts from  Province 5, this has failed to make any headway as the UML remains opposed. Pokharel also suggested the UML be flexible in its stance on amendment.

Madhes political analyst Tula Narayan Shah also argues that  the three major parties first need to be on the same page on  amendment. "I believe the problem of  Madhes will continue even if the United Democratic Madhesi Front eventually decides to take part in the elections," he said.

Shah also said it will be a blunder to think the Madhesi movement has died down  and there is no need to address their concerns.

However, Nilambar Acharya argued that the best way forward is to go for elections as this gives political parties an opportunity  to establish their agenda and bring about amendment accordingly after the elections. "It will be so much the better if all three major parties are united on amendment. But in case they cannot arrive at consensus on this, the best way forward is to go for elections " 

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