A meeting between top ruling and Madhesi party leaders on Wednesday failed to find a solution to a political crisis that has crippled Nepal over the last three months.
The meeting between a government negotiation panel headed by UCPN (M) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhesi Front was described by ruling party leaders as a ‘decisive’ talk.
Morcha, an alliance of four Madhes-based parties protesting Nepal’s new constitution, has warned of intensifying its agitation after Chhath festival.
After one hour of meeting that made no headway, Morcha leader Upendra Yadav told journalists: “We just had tea and biscuits.”
Yadav, however, said Morcha was still hopeful that a consensus could be forged through talks. “We are still ready to sit for more talks,” he said. “But the ruling collation must come up with a concrete proposal for a package deal.”
Dahal informed journalists that ruling parties floated three proposals but Morcha rejected all of them.
“My first proposal was to address demands of proportional representation and constituencies in proportion to population right away and sort out dispute over federal demarcation through future talks,” he said. “But Morcha demanded a package deal before withdrawing its agitation.”
Dahal added: “I also proposed formation of all-party committee or parliamentary panel to strike a package deal, but Morcha disagreed.”
There was little hope for the ‘decisive’ talk to deliver a solution after the NC, the largest party in the Parliament, refused to participate in the meeting.
The NC was the leader of the former coalition government when Nepal’s constitution was promulgated on 20 September. But the NC is now out of the government and is refusing to be part of Dahal-led negotiation panel.
As the government and Morcha fail to forge a consensus in Kathmandu, Madhesi protesters continue to stage a sit-in at Birganj border point disrupting supply of essential commodities to Nepal.
Forcing the government to address demands raised by Madhesi parties through talks, India has also blocked its border points with Nepal creating a humanitarian crisis in the land-locked Himalayan country wrecked by a devastating earthquake just six months ago.