"Talks Till Date Turned Out To Be Mere Formalities" Rajendra Mahato

After returning from a medical treatment in India, Leader of Sadbhavana Party and United Democratic Madhesi Front RAJENDRA MAHATO spoke to NEW SPOTLIGHT on issues about the agitation and possible scenario. Excerpts:

Jan. 22, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol:09,No 13 January 22, 2016 (Magh 8,2072)

How do you see the possibility of ending the present political deadlock through dialogue?

Although there are still many hiccups, the talks between government and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UMDF) are nearing consensus. The relevance for talks has not ended.

How do you say this when some of your constituent parties have declared that the talk failed?

My impression is based on my discussion with top leaders of major parties including prime minister KP Sharma Oli, NC leader Sushil Koirala and Maoist leader Prachanda as they have turned positive on ending the protracted crisis. I am optimistic that an accord will be reached within a few days if big three materialize the commitments made to me. Talks till date turned out to be mere formalities. Major three parties including PM Oli are serious on ending the crisis which has increased hopes for a deal.

Big three are accusing you that your front is adding demands and you are not serious about talks. How do you look at this?

Had not we been sincere, the situation would have gone much worse. It is the arrogance of CPN-UML and other two to bully us. I don’t think they can do it again.

Since the big three have been saying that they want to solve the problems through amendment of constitution, what is wrong to wait for a few weeks to complete the process?

If they can pass 112 articles in a night in a super fast track, what prevents them to follow super fast track to meet our 11-point demands.

If the big three amend the constitution without accepting your demands, how will be your reaction?

Big three have already shown that they are not serious for minority janjati and Madheshi by promulgating the new constitution. As people have already rejected the constitution, Madhesh and other minorities will reject it again and launch the agitation to scrap it.

How was your stay in Kathmandu?

During my three days of stay in Kathmandu, I met several political leaders prime minister Oli, Maoist leader Prachnda and leader of Nepali Congress and party President Sushil Koirala. I urged them to play a proactive role to address the demands of the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front. 

What did you suggest to Koirala?

I told him clearly that raw deal is bad for all sides and there is the need to have a concrete deal. The ongoing agitation had overwhelming support of the people of Madhes and if the UDMF signed a raw deal with the major parties and the government, it would be bad for the agitating forces and also for the country. I have made it clear to Koirala that if the UDMF signed a raw deal, it would be deemed a sabotage in the Madhes and that would only strengthen the hands of secessionist forces and forces that want to resort to violence to settle political issues.

How sincere is Koirala?

I have repeatedly requested NC President Koirala to try to find a solution to all issues, including a revision of provincial boundaries. I have made it clear to Koirala that if the agitating forces were sidelined by mainstream forces of the country, Madhesis would no longer believe in peaceful resolution of their grievances and their disenchantment could give rise to violent activities in Madhes, which could also have spillover effects in India. I have also reminded Koirala that people of Madhes had voted for Nepali Congress with the hope that it would take care of their agendas, but the party failed to live up to their expectations in the constitution making process. NC leaders from Madhes were not in a position to go to Madhes to defend the role they played during the constitution making process as people of Madhes were angry with them.

How was your trip to New Delhi?

Actually, I went New Delhi for further treatment. As a political worker, it is natural to meet political leaders in India also. During my New Delhi stay, I also met various Indian leaders, including President Pranab Mukherjee.


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