A coalition of Madhesis and Janajatis, who are opposed to Nepal’s new constitution, on Thursday set conditions for supporting or joining the new government to be led by Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.
A meeting of the Samuktya Loktantrik Madeshi Morcha (SLMM), an alliance of Madhes-based parties and Janajati leaders, decided not to support the new government until the Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre makes a clear commitment about addressing their demands and grievances.
“Without concrete proposal from the would-be ruling coalition, we will not participate in the prime minister’s election process,” the alliance said. It is also looking for a political commitment to resolve the ongoing row over the boundaries of proposed states.
The popular perception in Kathmandu was that the alliance would join the new government even though it achieved little during 36 rounds of talks with the outgoing K P Oli government. A total of 59 people died in the Terai during protests against the new Constitution since last September. The alliance’s latest decision could lead to hard bargaining in the power-sharing game, observers said.
The alliance said the row over demarcation of boundaries should be resolved before holding local elections. It urged the Nepali Congress and the CPN-Maoist Centre to find a solution to the Terai crisis before preparing for the polls. The leaders also warned of strong protests if polls are conducted without taking the agitating parties on board.
One way of giving an assurance would be to register a joint amendment proposal in Parliament that incorporates the demands which the first amendment of the new Constitution failed to address, the leaders said.
The Sanghiya Gathabandhan, the larger alliance with Janajati groups of which the SLMM is a constituent, has demanded two provinces in the Terai plains. The CPN-UML leadership has stood firm against any changes to the existing federal structures, arguing it would spark unrest in other places. Despite insisting on the early resolution of the matter, the Nepali Congress and the CPN-Maoist Centre are yet to make specific proposals on the issue.
The meeting also demanded that the Local Body Restructuring Commission should stop its work till contentious issues in the Constitution are resolved to address the concerns of agitating groups.
“We urged the commission not to carry out any activities unless the issues pertaining to the Constitution are addressed,” said a statement issued by Gathabandan spokesperson Om Gurung.