Nepalese people and Madhesi party leaders block a bridge in Birgunj, a town on the border with India, around 300 kilometers (200 miles) east of Kathmandu on Friday
As the models clad in designer Khadi dresses walked past the ramp in plush Soaltee Hotel of Kathmandu on Thursday night, chief guest of the event, Indian Ambassador in Nepal Ranjit Rae kept glued to his phone, intermittently pacing in and out of the venue.The palpable tension was not noticed by most of the audience but for a few from Nepal’s elite political and bureaucratic circles that included Nepali Congress leader Shashanka Koirala.It is about the news of blockade along the India-Nepal border. We have heard that the Indian border guarding force, SSB, in not allowing trucks carrying essential supplies including petrol to ply through check posts because of security concerns inside Nepal. Besides it, the continued misgivings between the two countries that refuse to die down, an official confided.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The tension on the two counts led top leaders of the three major Nepali parties – CPN (UML), Maoists and Nepali Congress – to go in a huddle to thrash out possible solution to the stalemate.Hectic parleys continued on Friday too with Indian ambassador being called in by Nepal’s foreign minister Khaga Raj Adhikari to discuss the current situation at border checkpoints.At the meeting, Rae said India has no intention to block trade ties with Nepal. He also clarified that the obstruction to the Nepal-bound cargo was due the unrest, protests and demonstrations on the Nepali side.The envoy also held separate meetings with top leaders of major political parties of Nepal, including K P Sharma Oli, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the country’s former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.However, Nepalese leaders and keen observers refute Indian claims and observation.”Small violence by a miniscule group of people cannot be the reason to block supplies at main transit point of Raxual-Birganj when we have assured their full protection. Moreover, why trucks were not allowed to ply via Sanauli that is not affected by agitation at all? India should not force its own prescribed pill in our throat. This can create problems in future,” said a senior leader of Nepal Congress.The Nepalese leadership, sources said, is thinking to send members from three major parities as team of envoys to India to explain their position.”We want to explain India that what it wants is not possible as the sentiment is not shared by a big population in the Terai region. There are a few splinter groups that are trying to create problem but their voice is not of Madhesis in general,” said a senior leader of Nepal Congress.Nepal is expected to send the team in a day or two to meet, if possible, Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explain Nepal’s position that any change in the constitution is not possible right away and Indian genuine Indian concerns can always be addressed through amendments later.Many independent observers in Nepal believe that the tough Indian stand has something to do with Bihar elections where the incumbent BJP government in the Centre has a lot at stake and relaxing its position could mean negative votes in Bihar constituencies bordering Nepal.This was reflected also by Rae who hoped that the tension and violence in the southern plains of Nepal would be resolved ahead of the Bihar assembly polls in India beginning next month.Madhesis spill over on either side of Nepal and Bihar border and are spread over in large numbers in areas like Bettiah, Motihari, Madhubani, Darbhanga and Kishanganj. Any important event or happening on either side affects them directly as a community as they have strong social and economic connections on either side.