The success of Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli’s visit to India depends on how he responds to the demands of agitators, a senior Madhesi leader today said as he stressed that their protest has only been temporarily suspended.
Rajendra Mahato, chairman of Sadbhawana Party—a constituent of the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), said the six-day visit beginning February 19 would be fruitful only if Oli expresses commitment to address their concerns.
“The people and the government of India have shown overwhelming support to our issues during the six-month-long agitation, launched by the UDMF, so if the Prime Minister wants to make his India visit successful, he should address our issues,” Mahato told reporters in Kathmandu.
The Nepal government should show positive gestures before Oli’s visit to India begins so that he could get a positive response there, Mahato claimed.
Madhesis, who are largely of Indian-origin, have led a nearly six-month-long violent protest for better political representation, redrawing of the provincial boundaries and the federal structure of the Constitution. The protests have claimed more than 50 lives before being called off unexpectedly this month.
Mahato, however, said the agitation launched by the UDMF, which also comprises the Tarai-Madhesh Loktantrik Party and the Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum-Nepal, has not concluded.
“We have only changed the form of the movement, it has not yet concluded,” he said. “At present we have changed the border-centred agitation, so that people could feel some relief, but movement has not concluded yet,” he clarified.
It is just a break, to preserve our energy so that a more intensified agitation could be launched if necessary, he said.
“Boundary demarcation is the bottom-line of our demands and unless the demands are properly addressed through an amendment to the Constitution the movement will not stop,” Mahato warned.
Mahato said the government has not taken the agitation seriously even after nearly six months.
The government has enough time to discuss the demands, he said and advised the government to utilise the time wisely.
He urged the three major parties—CPN-UML, UCPN-Maoist and Nepali Congress—to display seriousness in addressing the issues raised by the Madhesi Front.