Kathmandu, August 24 (NIA): Political parties representing the Madhesis (people of partial Indian origin living in the Terai region of Nepal) are trying to come together on contention issues relating to the new constitution of Nepal, before Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal visits New Delhi for talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September, Kathmandu Post reports.
Leaders of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM), an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, are reportedly keen to reach a common position on the Constitution before Dahal undertakes his first official visit to India after becoming Prime Minister in July.
The governing parties— CPN (Maoist Centre) and Nepali Congress—and the SLMM are expected to start fresh negotiations, possibly next week, to find a political solution to the Terai crisis, for which the government has pledged to introduce a constitutional amendment proposal in Parliament by mid-October.
“I have heard that government is planning to register an amendment proposal before Prime Minister Dahal’s visit to New Delhi. We are hoping that negotiations will start soon,” the Kathmandu Post quoted Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato, as saying.
Prime Minister Dahal is expected to be in India from September 15 to 18.
Redrawing of provincial boundaries with at least two provinces in the Terai plains is one of the key demands of the Morcha. It has also demanded that its concerns regarding proportional representation and citizenship be addressed.
Though the new government has pledged to address the agitating parties’ demands, the governing parties are yet to come up with any formal proposal.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi returned to Kathmandu from a five-day India visit on Tuesday. Nidhi told journalists that his visit was successful in strengthening Kathmandu-New Delhi ties, which had reached the nadir after the promulgation of Nepal’s new constitution last year.
“Our ties have become stronger,” he said. “And you will see proof of it during Prime Minister Dahal’s India visit in mid-September, ” he said.
According to him New Delhi has confirmed Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s Nepal visit, which will be followed by President Bidya Bhandari’s India visit.
President Bhandari was scheduled to visit India earlier, but the then-Prime Minister KP Oli cancelled her visit after a Nepali Congress-Maoist attempt to unseat him in May.
In the Nepalese parliament on august 21, opposition parties slammed the Dahal government for ‘involving India in amending Nepal’s constitution’. Communist Party of Nepal (Uinted Marxist Leninist) MP Yagyaraj Sunuwar said that it is a shame that the Prime Minister sent his special envoy to New Delhi to discuss amendments to Nepal’s constitution.
Last Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi had handed over Dahal’s letter to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the letter, Dahal is believed to have assured Modi that Nepal is ready to amend the constitution to address the grievances of Madhesi and Janajati dissenters.
“The Dahal government has shown that nothing can happen in Nepal without India’s consent,” said Sunuwar.
The Nepal Workers Peasants Party (NWPP) MP Prem Suwal also flayed the government for allowing India to intervene in Nepal’s internal affairs by giving a written commitment to amend the constitution.
According to a press release issued by the Embassy of Nepal in New Delhi, Deputy Prime Minister Nidhi had told Modi of the need to expedite the implementation of ongoing joint projects — especially the Hulaki road, the Cross-border railway and Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project — and identify new areas of cooperation as well.
In response, gave the assurance that India is committed to supporting the priorities of the new government of Nepal.Nidhi had invited India’s President, Pranab Mukherjee, to Nepal and laid the groundwork for Dahal’s India visit, followed by President Bidya Bhandari’s visit later this year.