KATHMANDU, Feb 22: Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has taken initiative to bring the Madhes-based parties onboard the government.
Two key aides to Prime Minister Oli, who is also the chairman of the ruling CPN-UML, held talks with the leaders of the Upendra Yadav-led Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) on Wednesday.
UML Secretary Pradeep Gyawali and the party's senior leader Subas Nembang held negotiations with FSFN senior leaders Ashok Rai, Co-chair Rajendra Shrestha and General Secretary Ram Sahaya Yadav at the UML's parliamentary party office in Singha Durbar. “We had talks with FSFN leaders in a cordial environment today [Wednesday]. The talks will continue in the coming days,” Nembang said.
UML Chairman Oli, who was sworn-in as prime minister on February 15, plans to form new government with two-thirds majority seats in parliament by inducting Madhes-based parties also. However, the FSFN and another Madhes-based party Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) have announced to join the government only if the UML-led government promised to address their constitutional grievances through amendments.
The UML and Maoist Center together have 174 lawmakers in the 275-member federal parliament. The RJPN and FSFN have 17 and 16 members respectively in the federal parliament. The UML and the Maoist Center have already clinched a unification deal to form new party called Communist Party of Nepal.
According to FSFN leaders, the UML leaders had asked the FSFN leaders to join the government as the parliamentary elections held recently has given mandate to the UML, CPN (Maoist Center) and the Madhes-based parties to form a government. While UML and the Maoist Center have formed a government in six of the seven provinces, the FSFN and RJPN have formed their government in Province 2.
While not ruling out the possibility of bringing amendment to the constitution, the UML has been maintaining that the constitution can be amended based on 'necessity' and 'justification'. "It is now proven that the constitution needs some amendment," said FSFN General Secretary Yadav.
FSFN leaders said the UML leaders have expressed readiness to form a task force comprised of leaders from both the UML and the Madhes-based parties to do necessary homework to settle the issues related to amending the constitution.
UML leaders said they will also hold talks with the RJPN. "They want amendment to the constitution. We have told them that we can move forward together while also giving continuity to the constitution amendment issue," Nembang further said.