As the tortuous negotiations over Madhesi demands for changes in the constitution drag on in Kathmandu, and 28 million people reel under a two-and-half-month long siege, there are feeble feelers from all sides to seek face-saving ways out of the prolonged deadlock.
The Nepal government senses that the nationalistic chest-thumping is giving way to public anger over shortages, Madhesi leaders similarly feel their slogans against ‘colonial’ Kathmandu are beginning to ring a bit hollow among a people who have suffered a five-month shutdown, and over at the PMO in New Delhi there is creeping disquiet about the growing domestic political backlash as well as rising international concern about its handling of the Nepal mess.
Negotiations between the Big 3 parties and the Madhesi Front that had broken off after killings in Birganj and Saptari resumed this week. While there is still som posturing, the two sides appear more flexible, especially after the return of Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa from New Delhi on Thursday. Madhesi Front coordinator Mahanta Thakur and Upendra Yadav of the FSFN flew back to Kathmandu from Janakpur Thursday. A hastily-called Cabinet meeting then decided to endorse an amendment bill proposed by the previous NC government. There is a feeling that playing with boundaries in these volatile times could unleash violence and mire Nepal in instability.
The Big 3 plan a meeting with the Madhesi Front Friday itself.