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Talks again, breakthrough unlikely

Saturday, December 5th, 2015
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Leaders of the agitating Madhesi Morcha who snubbed a tripartite meeting called by Prime Minister KP Oli and instead visited the Indian embassy on Friday have once again agreed to sit for talks with the ruling UML-Maoist collation and the main opposition NC.

Three political forces are preparing to hold tripartite talks this evening at the PM’s official residence in Baluwatar. But neither side is hopeful that there will be a breakthrough today itself.

“I don’t think there will be genuine negotiations this evening,” Sadbhavana Party leader Manish Suman told Nepali Times.

Two of the Morcha’s top four leaders – Rajendra Mahato and Mahendra Roy Yadav – have already left for New Delhi via Patana on Saturday.  And only Mahant Thakur and Upendra Yadav are in Kathmandu. They are also flying to New Delhi early Sunday morning.

In a statement on Saturday, the Morcha said top Madhesi leaders will consult leaders of various Indian political parties about Nepal’s political crisis.

The UML-Maoist coalition, the NC and the Morcha are likely to reach an understanding only after top Madhesi leaders return from New Delhi next week.  The Indian government has backed the Morcha and is putting pressure on the Oli government to address Madhesi demands by restricting supplies of essential commodities.

In today’s meeting, the NC-UML-Maoist leaders will formally inform the Morcha about their decision to forward a constitution bill registered by the previous government to ensure proportional representation of Madhesi people and constituency delineation in proportion to their population.

The top three parties have also decided to resolve dispute over federal boundaries in three months by forming an all-party committee. But the Morcha leaders have so far adamant not to accept any state-restructuring panel.

The Morcha leaders are likely to utilise today’s meeting just as an occasion to criticise the Oli government for ‘using excessive force to quell protests in the Tarai’. In its statement, the Morcha on Saturday once again blamed the ruling parties for not being serious about talks and using excessive force to thwart talks.

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