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Madhesis for amendment

Saturday, December 31st, 2016
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Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal with Madhesi leaders at Baluwatar on Saturday. Photo: RSS

After separate meetings with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba this weekend, Madhesi leaders have hinted that they may after all vote for the second amendment to the Constitution.

Madhesi leaders met Deuba on Friday and Dahal on Saturday, and were assured by the both leaders that elections will be held only after amending the Constitution. In return, they agreed to vote for the second amendment.

“The second amendment does not address all our demands, but we are still ready to pass it,” Tarai Madhes Sadbhavana Party (TMSP) President Ram Naresh Yadav told Nepali Times after meeting PM Dahal at Baluwatar.

The Maoists-NC ruling coalition had registered the second amendment in November, but it got stuck as the main opposition UML obstructed every Parliament meeting since then. The second amendment was registered to appease Madhesi parties, but they were not happy either.

After one month of political gridlock, the Maoists-NC coalition prepared to announce dates for federal, provincial and local elections putting on hold the second amendment. And it mounted pressure on Madhesi leaders to embrace the second amendment.

Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) leader Hridayesh Tripathi has said that they will vote for the second amendment with a note of dissent. The Madhesi Front is not in a position to wholeheartedly support the second amendment because the Federal Alliance, led by Upendra Yadav’s Federal Socialist Party, stands against it.

When the Front held a two-day meeting to chart out its new strategy this week, no one from Yadav’s party turned up there. Yadav has vehemently criticised the second amendment, and is likely to portray other Madhesi leaders as traitors during elections.

After a green signal from the Front, the Maoists-NC coalition needs to table the second amendment, which is now in the parliament secretariat. But the UML continues to obstruct the House, fearing that the bill will be passed with a combined strength of the NC, the Maoists, Madhesi and other fringe parties.

TMSP President told Nepali Times: “Madhesi and Janajati MPs within the UML are putting pressure on their party leadership to support this bill, so the UML will have to give in to pressure sooner than later.


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