Free Press Journal

Madhesi problem heading towards solution: Oli



Kathmandu: The political crisis in Nepal over the country’s new Constitution was “heading towards solution”, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has said amid continued protests by Madhesis that have resulted in the shortage of essential goods and strain in Indo-Nepal ties. “Many things have been heading towards solution and a positive environment has gradually developed. So, we should not be dragged by wrong and misleading comments…,” Oli, who will visit India next month, said.

He made the remarks yesterday at a function organised by Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal on the occasion of the 294th birth anniversary of Prithvi Narayan Shah, who constructed an integrated Nepal.  Oli said the problem due to the Terai agitation was “heading towards solution”, The Himalayan Times reported.

His remarks came after Nepal’s agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front last week said it would launch a 10-day fresh protest campaign from this week. Nepal is facing acute shortage of cooking gas, petroleum products, medicines and other essentials due to the months-long blockade imposed on the southern border of the country as
a result of the protests spearheaded by Madhesis, largely of Indian-origin.

They are opposing the seven province model of federalism which was introduced in the country through the promulgation of the new Constitution in September last year. A meeting of taskforce comprising members of Nepal’s major political parties and the agitating Madhesi Front yesterday failed to convene here, apparently over differences relating to demarcation of provincial boundaries.

The scheduled meeting was to discuss the much-thorny issue of boundary re-demarcation to end the five-month-long protests by the four-party United Democratic Madhesi Front. Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) on January 3 decided to set up the taskforce to find a common ground on demands put forward by Madhesi leaders in a bid to end the political impasse in the country over the Constitution adopted on September 20. Madhesis, who share strong cultural and family bonds with Indians, demand demarcation of provinces, fixing of electoral constituencies on the basis of population and proportional representation. So far, more than 50 people have died in the agitation.