March 3, 2017 12:10 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, March 3: Dismayed at the failure of the ruling parties to push the seven-point amendment bill through parliament, the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) is mulling withdrawing its support to the government.
Senior UDMF leaders said their next meeting will discuss in detail about their future course of action in view of the proposal of the ruling parties to put the constitution amendment bill on hold. The leaders are in a mood to 'wait and see' for a few days as the ruling parties expedite preparations to hold the local level polls on May 31.
General Secretary of Rastriya Madhes Samajbadi Party (RMSP) Keshav Jha said they are miffed at the ruling parties' response to their demands. "We are now mulling withdrawing our support to the government and announce fresh protest programs across the tarai,” Jha told Republica. The RMSP is one of the constituent parties of the UDMF.
All constituent parties of the UDMF had voted to topple the then KP Sharma Oli-led government in August last year. They had backed Pushpa Kamal Dahal to form a new coalition government in exchange for a promise to amend the constitution to address the demands of the Madhesi parties. The then ruling parties and the Madhesi parties had signed a three-point deal.
However, the government has failed to push the amendment bill through parliament due to vehement opposition to the proposed bill by the CPN-UML and other opposition parties.
The UDMF leaders are dismayed as Prime Minister Dahal lately proposed putting the amendment bill on hold until the two-thirds majority in favor of the amendment bill is secured. The prime minister has been wooing the Madhes-based parties to participate in the election as the three tiers of elections must be held within the stipulated deadline of January 18, 2018.
The UDMF constituent parties have a total 39 votes in parliament. While Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal-led by Upendra Yadav has 15 seats, Mahantha Thakur-led Tarai Madhes Democratic Party has 11 seats, and Rajendra Mahato-led Sadbhawana Party, Sharat Singh Bhandari-led RMSP, Mahendra Yadav-led Tarai Madhesh Samajbadi Party have, 5, 3, and 3 seats, respectively. Similarly, Madhesi People's Rights Forum (Republican) led by Raj Kishor Yadav and Tharuhat Tarai Party Nepal-led Bhanu Ram Tharu each have 1 seat in parliament.