January 16, 2017 07:49 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Jan 16 : At a time when the major political parties have failed to hold any big function in the tarai districts, the main opposition party CPN-UML has announced it is to organize mass rallies in all tarai districts beginning March 4.
A Standing Committee meeting of the party held on Sunday decided to launch a 15-day campaign from Mechi to Mahakali in order to put an end to allegations that it was against Madhes and the Madhesi people.
The decision of the party comes amid warnings from the agitating Madhes-based political parties that they will bar the UML from entering the southern plains districts. The UML has stood in opposition to the constitution amendment bill that is currently in Parliament and that the ruling parties have described as their response to the demands of the Madhes-based parties.
The 15-day party campaign will begin from Jhapa and cover all district headquarters in the tarai and major cities on the East-West Highway before concluding in Surkhet, informed UML Secretary Pradeep Gyawali.
“We will form a permanent team of leaders focusing our party activities on Madhes. Party top leaders including the chairman, senior leaders, two vice chairmen and the general secretary will address the rallies,” said Gyawali.
Madhes-based political parties started creating obstructions against the activities of major political parties and their leaders, accusing the big parties of not addressing their demands in the new Constitution. They had attempted to obstruct a public-feedback program attended by Chairman of CPN (Maoist Center) Pushpa Kamal Dahal in Siraha and a program attended by UML senior leader Madhav Nepal in Rautahat in July 2015. Nepal had to return without visiting his own constituency in Rauthat a few weeks after promulgation of the new Constitution in September 2015.
Convening a mass rally in Sarlahi in December 2015, the party had announced its campaign in Madhes. But the party couldn’t hold any mass program in the tarai districts for a year.
Last November, UML senior leaders Madhav Nepal, Jhalnath Khanal and others addressed a party gathering at Janakpur. The party didn’t face any obstruction from the agitating parties despite warnings.
Since then, the party has been holding various mass gatherings in the Madhes districts. But party Chairman KP Oli has not attended such programs so far except the party district convention in Biratnagar.
The party recently held programs at Lahan, Sunsari and Sarlahi. Likewise the party is holding another program in Janakpur this week, said Gyawali.
“Various sister wings of the party have been working in the Madhes without any obstruction,” said Gyawali terming the warnings of the agitating parties as the ‘height of anarchy’. Asked about the risk of confrontation, Gyawali said that the party will not back off from its decision to hold mass rallies in Madhes.
Addressing a mass rally to protest against the constitution amendment bill in Kathmandu on January 6, UML Chairman Oli had said the party’s campaign in the tarai will garner mass support. “The rally can’t be captured by drones, it will be possible to capture it only through satellite,” Oli said. UML had brought a big number of people from the tarai to the rally.