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This is how Oli government is trying to end the blockade

Kathmandu, January 20

A final effort to placate the United Democratic Madheshi Front, dissatisfied with the way Monday’s talks with three major parties turned out, has begun. With the constitution amendment process on hold, the three parties — the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the UCPN-Maoist — have started internal discussions, apart from engaging in informal talks with UDMF leaders.

In a bid to reach an understanding, top leaders of the three parties are meeting at 3 pm on Wednesday. Before that, the parties will hold a bilateral meeting.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the parties will make a final attempt to reach an understanding. “With a lot of effort, we have put the statute amendment process on hold. We are striving for an understanding.”

The UCPN-Maoist, according to a source, is exploring the possibility of reaching an understanding on the basis of a six-point proposal that the UDMF has put forth. By and large, the main opposition Nepali Congress is positive on this, except for the faction of senior Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba.

The UML, which is leading the government, is also not positive on this. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and the UML leadership feel that the UDMF does not want an understanding as it has been putting forth new demands every now and then. In this situation, reaching an understanding may not be easy, though leaders taking part in talks indicate that a deal is near.

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If efforts aimed at reaching an understanding fail, the government is likely to try to address the demands through the constitution amendment process without taking the UDMF into confidence.

In the absence of any written understanding with the UDMF, the UML will find it hard to get Congress and Maoist support for making changes in the constitution amendment bill.

The government has registered a constitution amendment proposal in the Parliament, incorporating the UDMF’s demands for delineation of electoral constituencies on the basis of proportionate inclusion and population. The UDMF has said it is not sufficient.

The main opposition Nepali Congress and UCPN-Maoist have also tabled their constitution amendment proposals in the Parliament. Passage of these two will, by and large, address two major demands of the UDMF.

“Our first priority is on reaching an understanding. Even if that is not possible, efforts should be on incorporating the (UDMF) demands in the constitution amendment process,” an NC leader told Onlinekhabar.

“The agitating UDMF is also positive towards this alternative. The UDMF is under pressure to not agree on forming a political mechanism and sorting out the boundary dispute within three months,” the leader said.

If there’s no understanding and the government tries to amend the constitution by going it alone, the UDMF will continue with its movement till the settlement of the boundary dispute.

The UML leadership feels that the blockade wille ease if the government-registered amendment proposal sails through the Parliament. Apparently, the UML is not happy with the Congress’ move of registering an amendment proposal on the bill that it had tabled in the Parliament while it was in the government. The UML feels the Congress is doing all this to take credit for the resolution of the Madhesh crisis.

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