Madhesi leaders reject Nepal govt deal; meet NC leaders

Madhesi leaders reject Nepal govt deal; meet NC leaders

Madhesi leaders today rejected Nepal government's "abstract" proposal to accommodate some of their demands by amending the new Constitution, dimming hopes of an early end to the political crisis plaguing the country.

Upendra Yadav, one of the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) leaders spearheading the agitation in southern Nepal, said: "Abstract proposal won't solve the current crisis."

Yadav, chairman of Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, said the UDMF has rejected the proposal.

"Front's major demands include delineation of provinces, population as basis for constituencies and proportional representation. They should be addressed immediately," he said.

Jitendra Sonal, another senior leader of the UDMF, said their agitation and blockade would continue till the government meet all demands put forth by Madhesi parties.
He was talking to the media during a sit-in at Miteri Pul, the bridge linking India's Raxaul and Birgunj of Nepal.

Sonal, of the Terai Madhes Democratic Party, termed the three-point roadmap prepared by Nepal government "faulty" and thus unacceptable to the UDMF.

However, after UDMF-NC talks at party president Sushil Koirala's residence in Maharajgunj, Nepali Congress leader Mahesh Acharya said the meeting was heading towards a positive direction.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed the 11-point demands presented by the front. NC urged Madhesi groups to take up their issues through the Constitution amendment process, Acharya said.

"We will discuss the issue with other major parties in an attempt to forge consensus on the issues before holding next meeting with the Madhesi parties," he said.

The Constitution Amendment Bill already tabled in the Parliament incorporates only two major demands: proportionate representation of the Madhesis in all state mechanisms and allocation of Parliament seats on the basis of population.

Nepal's Cabinet has decided to set up a political mechanism to recommend solutions to disputes over the proposed provincial boundaries within three months of its formation.

But Madhesi leaders said they want issues related to citizenship certificate distribution and re-demarcation of the provincial boundary addressed along with their other demands.

Laxman Lal Karna, vice-chairman of Sadbhawana Party, also fighting for the Madhesi cause, said the new proposal was incomplete and does not include a clear roadmap.
"We want the government to make their proposal complete and clear cut before sitting for a dialogue with the government representatives to resolve the crisis," he said.

Madhesis have been protesting for over four months against the seven-province model proposed in the Constitution adopted on September 20. More than 50 people have been killed in the protests since August.

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