The Madhesi Morcha, an alliance of seven political parties that has been protesting against Nepal’s Constitution since 2015, threatened on Wednesday it would withdraw support to the government led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” if its demands are not addressed in seven days.
Top leaders of the Morcha called on Prachanda and handed over a five-point memorandum listing their demands, including the scrapping of plans to hold elections to local government bodies on May 14.
The Morcha backed Prachanda when he formed his government in August last year after finalising a three-point pact to amend the Constitution to make it more inclusive and Madhes-friendly.
The ultimatum came three days after three Morcha cadres were killed in police firing during a fierce clash in Saptari district. The violence erupted when Morcha activists attempted to disrupt a campaign launched by the main opposition party, CPN-UML.
The promulgation of the new Constitution in 2015 triggered fierce rivalry between the CPN-UML and the Madhesi Morcha. The CPN-UML leadership accused the Morcha of being a “pawn of foreign powers”. It has also been indifferent to the Morcha’s demands to amend the Constitution.
Besides the scrapping of polls to local government bodies, other demands included in the Morcha’s memorandum are an assurance regarding the amendment of the Constitution, keeping the local structure within provincial jurisdiction and implementing the three-point agreement reached when Prachanda’s government was formed.
Sadbhawana Party co-chairman Laxman Lal Karna said the Morcha also wants the three cadres killed in police firing to be declared martyrs. The Morcha also demanded the formation of a commission to investigate the killings.
Prachanda's chief political advisor, Chakrapani Khanal, said the prime minister had assured the Morcha leaders that their demands will be addressed after he holds discussions with the ruling parties and the opposition.