Madhesi and other ethnic parties agitating against the new constitution of Nepal boycotted an all-party meeting called on Tuesday by the government to resolve the crisis.
Nearly 30 parties belonging to Federal Alliance did not turn up at the meeting called by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to address the demands made by those opposed to the constitution.
Though Oli had sent a formal request on Monday to United Democratic Madhesi Front, which comprises the four main Madhesi parties in the alliance, they said no official invitation was received.
“I learned about Tuesday’s meeting only after reading the morning newspapers. How can we attend a meeting based on that?,” asked Upendra Yadav, chairman of the alliance.
Another senior Madhesi leader Mahanta Thakur informed Oli over phone that members of the Federal Alliance will not take part in the meeting as they need to conduct internal consultations first.
The meeting was attended by leaders of all parties present in the ruling coalition, president Sher Bahadur Deuba of main opposition party Nepali Congress as well as representatives of several smaller parties.
“The prime minister made it clear that unofficial and official talks would continue to find a political solution to the issue. Leaders of other parties also supported the initiative for talks,” said a release issued by Oli’s office.
Madhesi parties belonging to the southern plains and several other parties representing indigenous communities have been protesting in Kathmandu since last week demanding changes in the constitution.
Among other things, the parties want fresh demarcation of federal states and more opportunities in government for marginalized communities.