Madhesi leaders threaten to withdraw support for PM

Published On: September 15, 2016 12:10 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 15: Madhes-based parties have expressed dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal over the delay in moving forward with the amendment of the Constitution while some of their leaders even threatened to withdraw their support from the government.

During a meeting with the prime minister on Wednesday, leaders of the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) and the Federal Alliance expressed dissatisfaction over the PM not organizing even a single meeting to formally discuss the matter of constitutional amendment.

"I told the PM clearly that we had voted for him in the prime ministerial election as he had agreed to address the demands of the Madhes movement and amend the Constitution.

However, he is yet to hold a single meeting with the UDMF regarding this issue.

Therefore, I told him that we cannot continue our support to the government if he keeps on delaying in this regard," said Anil Jha, chairman of Nepal Sadbhavana Party.

According to a Madhesi leader present at the meeting, Dahal assured the Madhes-based leaders that he would expedite political discussions for a constitutional amendment after he returns from his foreign visits.

"I had set a deadline and said the amendment process would begin before my visit to India, but people tried to relate this to my India visit," the Madhesi leader quoted the prime minister as saying. "This complicated matters and we also could not create a political environment due to time constraints," Dahal had added .

"The prime minister has given us an assurance that the amendment bill will move forward after his India visit but with the foreign visits now looming serious doubts have arisen that he will expedite the bill any time soon," said the leader. 

During the meeting, Dahal said that the government has been working to amend the Constitution through political consensus on four issues, including citizenship, the official languages of the provinces, representation of the provinces in the National Assembly and delineation of the provinces. He also claimed that he was in constant touch with the Madhes-based leaders.

Federal Socialist Party senior leader Ashok Rai, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party General Secretary Sarbendra Nath Shukla, Sadbhavana Party Co-chair Laxman Lal Karna, Tarai Madhes Socialist Party General Secretary Keshav Jha, Nepal Sadbhavana Party Chairman Anil Jha and others were present during the meeting. 

The parties under the UDMF and Federal Alliance had voted for Dahal during the prime ministerial election after reaching a three-point agreement, including amendment of the Constitution to address the demands of Madhes-based parties.

Govt gives full shape to probe commission
The government on Wednesday gave full shape to the probe commission formed to investigate incidents of arson and killing during the Madhes protests last year.

The council of ministers a few weeks ago had decided to form a probe commission under the chairmanship of former justice Girish Chandra Lal and asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to give it full shape.

As per the decision, the Home Ministry on Wednesday nominated former AIG Nawaraj Dhakal, former director of National Investigation Department Sukhachandra Jha and advocates Surya Koirala and Sajan Lopchan as members of the probe commission.

Likewise, the ministry has designated Joint-Secretary Yadav Koirala as member-secretary of the commission.

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