Nepal PM to split Province 5 to woo agitating Madhes parties

| Updated: Nov 23, 2016 18:35 IST

Kathmandu [Nepal], Nov. 23 (ANI): Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal plans to split Province 5 of the country which currently has 13 districts to woo Madhes-based parties. However, the country's main opposition the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), also known as CPN-UML has already objected to this plan. Close aides of the prime minister have said that concerns of both Madhesi and Tharu communities will be addressed through this proposal. A demand for another province along the plains, besides Province 2, without Hill districts is being made by the Madhes-based parties whereas Tharus want a Tharuhat province. The Kathmandu Post quoted sources, as saying," Prime Minister Dahal is set to discuss the idea with Madhesi leaders at an "official meeting" between him and Madhesi leaders at Baluwatar on Wednesday. The government hopes to give final shape to the draft after consultation with the Madhesi parties as it is planning to register a constitution amendment proposal in Parliament later this week. A Maoist leader close to Dahal said, "The prime minister has proposed to integrate Hill districts of Province 5 into Province 4 and Province 6. He prepared the proposal after consultation with some senior Madhesi leaders." According to Dahal, province 5 consisting of Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kaplivastu, Dang, Banke and Bardiya could largely address the concerns of agitating parties. Dahal's proposal calls for merging seven hill districts of Province 5 with Province 4 and Province 6. Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party Chairman Mahanta Thakur has said that a comment would only be made by him after he gets to see the proposal. "Initially, they were saying that there will be some changes in boundaries of Provinces 4, 5 and 6. Now, they are saying only Province 5 will be divided. There still is some confusion," said Thakur. "We have been informed that the proposal will address our concerns over four contentious issues-federal boundaries, representation in the Upper House, citizenship and working language of provinces," he added. However, some senior Madhesi leaders including Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav have threatened to disown the constitution amendment bill if it fails to address all the demands of the agitating parties in its entirety. "We will not accept the constitution until our 26-point demand is addressed," said Yadav. "The government must act as per the commitment the Maoist Centre and the Congress made in the three-point agreement signed before the formation of this government," he added. (ANI)