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UDMF rejects amendment bill, announces agitation prorammes

By Our Reporter
Outright rejection of the new amendment bill submitted by the government in the parliament by the United Democratic Madhesi Front, an alliance of seven regional parties, has dealt a blow to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and NC president SherBahadurDeuba. These two leaders were hopeful that the UDMF would accept the new bill and participate in the local election.
The government had withdrawn the old amendment bill and registered a new one omitting the provision related to the demarcation of Province No 4 and 5 in the previous bill in a bid to woo the Madhes-based parties. Although the government has included almost all the demands except for the demarcation of the boundaries of Province 4 and 5, the UDMF rejected it stating that the new bill was submitted without consulting them and it had not been as per their demand.
The Madhes-based parties said the new bill still fell short of addressing their demands. The UDMF has also made it clear that it would not take part in the local elections scheduled for May 14.
The Madhes-based parties have made public the protest programmes with an intention of disrupting the election. They have called a bandhon the day of nomination (Baisakh 16) and an indefinite-period general strike from Baisakh 27. Similarly, they have made public other protest programme like mass demonstrations, torch and stick rallies and sit-in at the local offices of the Election Commission.
The rejection of the new bill clearly showed that the Madhes-based parties want not only to foil the local polls but also to fail the constitution. But still a few leaders of the Nepali Congress are demanding that the local polls should be organised only after addressing the demands of the Madhes-based parties .
The government last week had registered an 11-point bill with a view to accommodating the concerns of the Madhes-based parties over some disputed issues of the constitution. But the UDMF leaders termed the new bill as “even more regressive” than the previous bill, which was withdrawn before registering the new bill.
The new amendment billseeks to address the Madhesi parties’ concerns over representation in the upper house, citizenship and language. It also seeks to allow the federal parliament to change the boundaries of a province without the consent of the province concerned until the formation of the provincial assembly. It also seeks to form a federal commission to settle disputes related to provincial delineations. But they have become meaningless when the UDMF itself rejected them.

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