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Nepal’s KP Oli calls up PM Modi; discusses political situation in Nepal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday emphasised the importance of finding a durable solution based on consensus to Nepal’s political problems during a telephonic conversation with his Nepalese counterpart K P Oli.Oli called up Modi and briefed him on the political developments in his country, days after the Nepalese Cabinet decided to amend the Constitution to address keys demands of Madhesis, largely of Indian-origin, from the country’s Terai region over proportional representation and constituency delimitation.”Prime Minister emphasised the importance of finding a durable solution to the political problems facing Nepal based on consensus or ‘sahmati’,” an External Affairs Ministry release in New Delhi said, adding that Oli “briefed him on the political developments in Nepal”.According to the Nepalese premier’s press advisor Pramod Dahal, during the 20-minute conversation, Modi invited Oli to visit India. Oli accepted the invitation and said he will pay an official visit to India soon after the situation is normalised, Dahal said.Modi also extended his good wishes to the friendly people of Nepal for the New Year 2016. Oli would visit India before undertaking his trip to China, which was earlier supposed to be his maiden visit overseas, sources in the Nepal government said. The Nepalese Prime Minister extended thanks to Modi for welcoming Nepal government’s move to forward a Bill in the Parliament for amending the Constitution to address the demands raised by the agitating Madhesi Front.During the talk, the two leaders also discussed matters relating to improving relations between Nepal and India, Dahal said. Oli said he wanted to see Nepal-India relations move towards a positive direction while also drawing Modi’s attention towards the obstructions prevailing in the Nepal- India border check-points, according to Dahal.He requested Modi to make arrangements for smoothening the Raxaul-Birgunj check-point, the major trading point between the two countries. In response, Modi said he was always in favour of easing Indo-Nepal border trading points and asserted that India was not creating any obstructions in the movement in the border checkpoint, Oli’s Press Advisor added.Modi told Oli that all the border points except the Raxaul-Birgunj check-point are operating in a normal way and the obstructions were created in the Raxaul-Birgunj point due to continued protests by the agitating Madhesi parties, according to Dahal.Modi also recalled that he had instructed the External Affairs Minister to ensure that medicines reach Nepal through airlifting to avoid their scarcity due to agitations there. The two Prime Ministers also discussed issues relating to bilateral interest on the occasion. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Sushma Swaraj meets Madhesi leaders, assures support for an ‘inclusive Nepal’

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Unwise to blame India for economic blockade: Nepal’s ex-PM Bhattarai

Bhattarai warned that the Terai agitation is turning violent and it could get out of hand.

The issue of border dispute has become a subject of debate for the last one year, according to Bhattarai who quit the UCPN-Maoist two months ago to form a new political force.

Former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai on Saturday said that the political crisis in southern Nepal could be resolved if the country can re-demarcate the boundaries of federal provinces through amendments to the new Constitution as demanded by the Indian-origin Madhesis. The issues relating to five districts, three in eastern Nepal and two in the west could not be resolved due to the arrogance and personal interests shown of the four leaders belonging to opposition Nepali Congress and ruling CPN-UML, Bhattarai said.The issue of border dispute has become a subject of debate for the last one year, according to Bhattarai who quit the UCPN-Maoist two months ago to form a new political force. Bhattarai said he is ready to broker a deal between the agitating Madhesi parties and the government to resolve the current impasse. Urging the government to respond quickly to the demands of the agitating Madhesi parties, Bhattarai warned that the Terai agitation is turning violent and it could get out of hand.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He asked the government to implement the past agreements relating to proportional representation, election constituency determination on the basis of population and re-demarcation of the boundaries to address the demands of the Madhesis. He said that the Terai agitation and blockade of the key trading points between Nepal and India over the past two months have severely damaged the Nepalese economy. The damage to the national economy due to the agitation is nearly double as compared to the damage caused by the devastating earthquake in April, he said.Nepalese people have faced hardship from time to time due to the leadership’s inability to strike a balance in Nepal’s relationship with its two giant neighbours, India and China, he said. He said although the economic blockade on the Indian border is inappropriate, it is not wise just to blame India without addressing Nepal’s own internal problems.The issue of Nepal-India relations should be tackled through diplomatic channels, while at the same time the issues raised by the agitating Madhesi parties should also be resolved through political dialogue, Bhattarai said. The present problem could not be resolved by blaming each other or by firing verbal missiles, he said.

Medicines from India destroyed in Madhesi violence in Nepal

Kathmandu: Indian-origin Madhesi protesters in Nepal on Friday torched an ambulance and a truck carrying medicines worth over Rs two million imported from India near the border as sporadic violence returned to the Himalayan nation amid a political logjam over the new Constititution.

The truck with medicines was torched by the cadres of the agitating Joint Democratic Madhesi Front (JDMF) close to the Indian border town of Raxaul, despite an assurance by the protesters that they would allow vehicles to move into Nepal.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Nepal is facing a huge shortage of medicines and other essential goods due to a two-month-long agitation by the Madhesis in the Terai region, the police said.

The agitators hurled a petrol bomb on the vehicle in the Birgunj Municipality area of Parsa district last night as the vehicle headed towards Janakpur, a southern Nepal town, the police said.

The fire that erupted in the truck destroyed the medicines imported from India worth more than Rs two million.

On Thursday, the JDMF had issued a statement that they would allow movement of medicine-laden vehicles and would let the schools in southern Nepal function normally.

Meanwhile, the cadres of the agitating Madhesi Front also set an ambulance on fire, in Morang in eastern Nepal.

The vehicle was ferrying a sick child to a local hospital in district headquarters Biratnagar.

The child sustained injuries but is now safe, police said.

Police have arrested eight members of the agitating Madhesi parties for their alleged involvement in the incident.

Nepal has been hit by a major political crisis over the new Constitution opposed by Indian-origin Madhesis who have led an agitation and blockaded at key border trade points of Nepal with India, leading to a shortage of essential goods including fuel and cooking gas.

Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal’s Terai region, are protesting against division of their ancestral homeland into seven provices in the new Constitution.

More than 40 people have died in the violent agitation that has also overwhelmed Indo-Nepal ties as transit of goods and fuel to the Himalayan nation from India has been badly affected.

The agitation by Madhesi groups has paralysed normal life across Nepal while the dearth of medicines has put lives of patients at stake.

PTI

Ready to reroute vehicles carrying medicines: India to Nepal

Nepal is facing acute shortage of fuel, medicine and other essential supplies due to the blockade amid protests by Indian-origin Madhesi people who are opposed to splitting the country into seven provinces in the new Constitution.

Nepal protests.
File Photo
PTI
As Nepal reels under severe shortage of medicines and other essential goods due to blockade of key trade points, India today said it was ready to facilitate rerouting of vehicles carrying drugs to the landlocked country and even airlifting medical supplies.External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup reiterated that there has been “no blockade” by India and the problem was political in nature which has to be resolved by the Nepalese leadership through dialogue. He said India has conveyed to Nepal that it was “ready to facilitate rerouting of vehicles carrying medicines. We are also ready to facilitate airlift. Nepalese importers of medicines are also advised to use those border crossings where there is no protest and disruptions in supply”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nepal is facing acute shortage of fuel, medicine and other essential supplies due to the blockade amid protests by Indian-origin Madhesi people who are opposed to splitting the country into seven provinces in the new Constitution. Hospitals in the country have run out of medicines and they are facing acute shortage of other essential medical supplies.”There has been no blockade by India, whatsoever. This question should really be put to Government of Nepal and not to the government of India. There is no blockade by India and I want to repeat it for umpteen times. Issues facing Nepal are political in nature. They are internal to Nepal and Nepalese leadership has to resolve them through dialogue with the agitating parties,” he said replying to a question on the blockade along the Terai region bordering India.He hoped that addressing concerns of the protesters will help in restoring peace in the affected areas.”If the political challenges facing Nepal are addressed, we can hope it would assuage the concerns of the protesters leading to peace and normalcy in the affected areas of the Terai including the border crossings currently occupied by Nepalese protesters,” said Swarup.The MEA Spokesperson said the shortages in Nepal were due to the blockade of major border crossing points of Birgunj-Raxaul border trading point which handles two-thirds of trade between the two countries.Till last evening, nearly 6,000 trucks are waiting to cross into Nepal at various border crossings including 4,700 at Raxaul, he said adding out of the 10 border points, capable of handling commercial cargo, seven including Sunauli and Panitanki have been operational”I can confirm to you that between 400 and 800 cargo trucks have been passing daily over the last four days through the India Nepal border. Petrol and lubricants supplies continue to move to the extent possible,” he said.Nepal has bee accusing India of imposing the blockade. India has been firmly denying having any role in imposing the blockade, saying truck drivers are concerned for their safety after violent protests against Nepal’s new Constitution in which over 40 people were killed.

Nepal PM Oli urges India to lift economic blockade, says it’s causing a ‘humanitarian crisis’

Kathmandu: Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli has called on India to lift “unofficial blockade” in Nepal as soon as possible.

In his televised address on Sunday to the nation, the premier, who assumed office as the head of the government on 11 October, explicitly mentioned that Nepalis have been going through a hard time due to the blockade imposed by India.

K P Oli. File photo. Image courtesy: APK P Oli. File photo. Image courtesy: AP

K P Oli. File photo. Image courtesy: AP

“It is unthinkable that a sovereign nation faces such an inhumane and severe pain, misery and blockade in the 21st century for having a Constitution with progressive, pro-people and democratic contents through an elected Constituent Assembly with people’s overwhelming participation and democratic franchise,” Prime Minister Oli said, Xinhua reported.

The Nepali prime minister’s remark has come at a time when people of Nepal have been reeling under acute shortage of fuel and basic commodities due to an Indian embargo after Nepal adopted a democratic constitution on 20 September.

This was the first time that the Nepali prime minister categorically pointed out the Indian economic blockade in the Himalayan nation though India has been denying any embargo against Nepal.

The Indian government has cited security reasons behind the obstruction of supply of fuel and basic commodities to Nepal due to an ongoing agitation against the new Constitution by Nepal’s Madhesi parties at the India-Nepal border.

“Nepal is passing through a serious humanitarian crisis which should not happen even during the wars. The blockade imposed by our southern neighbour has underestimated the feeling of the Nepali and Indian people. Imposing a blockade to a landlocked nation is a breach of international treaties, norms and values,” the prime minister said.

He said that Nepal wants to have relations with its neighbours on the basis of the principles of Panchsheel.

Stating that the government was making all efforts to address genuine concerns of agitating Madhesi parties, Prime Minister Oli said that the government is ready to review the demarcation of federal sate borders which has been a key demand of the agitating parties.

“The newly promulgated Constitution is not discriminatory to any sections of people including the Madhesi. It has addressed the aspirations of all people. As the Constitution is a dynamic document, it can be amended several times. I would like to urge Madhesi parties to end the ongoing agitation,” the prime minister added.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s talks between the agitating Madhesi parties and the government has failed to reach any conclusion, officials told Xinhua.

IANS

Reeling from protests and quakes, Nepal chooses new prime minister | Reuters

KATHMANDU Nepal’s lawmakers on Sunday chose a new prime minister who must reunite a country deeply divided over a fresh constitution, tackle crippling fuel shortages and kick-start reconstruction after two devastating earthquakes.

Many people from Nepal’s plains feel the constitution signed last month perpetuates long-standing domination by highland politicians. Fierce protests have left at least 40 dead and led to essential oil and gas deliveries from India being cut off.

The new prime minister, K.P. Sharma Oli, vowed after his confirmation to tackle Nepal’s woes, not least the devastation wrought by the earthquakes, which killed nearly 9,000 people in April.

“I will work alongside everybody to implement the constitution, repair the damage inflicted by the earthquake and address the hardships raised by the Indian blockade,” he said.

Nepal accuses neighbouring India of imposing a blockade in an attempt to force Kathmandu to listen to the demands of those in the plains of the south. India, while making clear its objections to the new constitution, denies this.

Oli, leader of the centre-left Communist Party of Nepal (UML), did win support in parliament from a group from the lowland Tarai region that had opposed the constitution.

The Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (Democratic) voted for Oli after he signed an agreement to review the demarcation of provinces – the key sticking point for ethnic groups that feel the new regional boundaries set down in the constitution take away their power.

NEED FOR COMPROMISE

In total, Oli won the support of 338 out of 587 lawmakers.

However, another lowland group said it would not take its seats in the newly formed parliament and would keep protesting.

Oli has until now taken a hard line towards demands from the south, although coalition politics may push him to be more flexible, since he is likely to need support from some plains parties to form a government.

Moreover, he will have to address relations with India, strained over Delhi’s opposition to the new constitution and the fuel shortages caused by the lack of deliveries from India.

“K.P. Oli is under pressure to deal with the Madhesi issue,” said Lok Raj Baral, a political scientist.

Almost six months after the earthquakes, the focus on party politics has drawn criticism.

Foreign donors gave $4.4 billion to Nepal in June to help earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation, but political infighting has meant that the National Reconstruction Authority, formed the same month, has yet to begin work.

“The people of Nepal are terribly annoyed,” said Baral. “The politicians have become bogged down in non-issues like this election.”

K.P. Oli’s political journey began in a 1970s pro-democracy movement, inspired by Maoist Naxalbari insurgents in neighbouring West Bengal, that aimed to abolish Nepal’s monarchy.

After many years in prison, he emerged as a more moderate leftist.

(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Madhesis to continue Nepal-India border blockade until demands met

Shukla told the negotiators of the three parties that previously the state had declared those who were killed during the protests as martyrs, but now the state was not following the precedent.

PTI
Nepal’s United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) on Wednesday told the negotiators of the Government that their blockade of entry points on Nepal-India border would continue until their demands were met.According to The Himalayan Times, UDMF negotiator Sarvendranath Shukla told the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the Unified CPN-Maoist that they should come with a roadmap when they sit for talks again tomorrow.Shukla told the negotiators of the three parties that previously the state had declared those who were killed during the protests as martyrs, but now the state was not following the precedent.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He added that the government had decided to withdraw its decision of declaring some areas in the Tarai districts as riot hit or prohibited zones, but in practice those decisions had not been implemented.The Madhesis felt cheated since the three parties did not abide by the eight-point agreement and hence, they wanted boundary issues resolved soon, Shukla said.On Tuesday, the meeting between Nepal’s three major parties and UDMF had ended inconclusively as the latter demanded concrete agenda on various issues for talks.

Nepal asks India not to push it to the wall

There have been many anti-India protests in Nepal as they feel that India has been retaliating against their government after the repromulgation of its new Constitution.

Nepal flag

Nepal on Sunday asked India not to “push it to the wall” by choking petroleum and other essential supplies which could compel it to turn to China despite logistical difficulties. Asserting that India had assured Nepal leadership that the situation will be resolved “at the earliest”, Nepalese Ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay said, “They (India) should give a timeframe. Does it mean hours, weeks or months?.””Because if pushed to the wall or as you say ‘marta kya naa karta’, we will be forced to approach other countries,” he told PTI in an interview, adding “though it would be logistically very difficult but if left with no option Nepal would approach other countries including China.” Upadhyay said Nepal has also conveyed to India its concerns over the continued obstruction in supply of essential goods and hoped that New Delhi will soon resolve the issue, especially with festivals like Dussehra and Diwali coming up which are celebrated big in the Himalayan nation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> On the recent anti-India protests, he categorically said, “When India helped Nepal during earthquake crisis, everybody in Nepal praised them and thanked them but now when the supplies are choked, people will react and protest. It is natural.” There have been many anti-India protests in Nepal as they feel that India has been retaliating against their government after the repromulgation of its new Constitution, over which India has been clearly irked as it feels the statute was discriminatory to ethnic Indian community, Madhesi, living in Nepal’s border districts. These areas also witnessed violent protests by the Madhesis during the drafting of the Nepal Constitution. Hours after the Constitution was passed by an overwhelming majority, violence escalated and soon after Indian trucks, which trundle daily across the borders with essential supplies towards Kathmandu, stopped. According to reports, hundreds of trucks were waiting at the border with shipments including medicine, gasoline, cooking fuel and produce. India has dismissed suggestions that it has imposed any embargo against the supplies to Nepal and has maintained that the obstruction was due to protest and unrest in that country as Indian companies and transporters fear for their safety and security. However, the Nepalese envoy said his government has given assurance to India that it will ensure their safety and security after entering Nepal. He also asked India to “forget all the negativities caused by any mistake” of Nepal Government and move forward in a positive way that will be beneficial for both the countries, which have had very strong cultural and social ties.

Trucks carrying essential supplies enter Nepal from India as blockade ends

More than 300 trucks carrying essential supplies have been stranded on the Indian side due to the ongoing blockade imposed the Madhesi groups opposing the promulgation of the new Constitution.

Nepal lawmakers congratulate each other after new constitution is passed in Parliament

AFP photo
Trucks from India carrying essential goods and petroleum products started entering Nepal on Wednesday, which is grappling with a fuel crisis due to the blockade of a key trade checkpoint with India by protesters opposing Nepal’s new Constitution. Several cargo trucks entered the Nepali side from Sunauli border in Bhairahawa.More than 300 trucks carrying essential supplies have been stranded on the Indian side due to the ongoing blockade imposed the Madhesi groups opposing the promulgation of the new Constitution.Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai region bordering India who are opposed to splitting Nepal into seven provinces.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 40 people have died in over a month of clashes between police and protesters from the Madhesi and Tharu communities and ethnic minorities.Nepal government enforced the odd-even system for all kinds of vehicles plying in major cities from today in a bid to reduce the impact of the fuel crisis. It has also been rationing petroleum products in Kathmandu to tackle the problem. The blockade in the Nepal-India border point has made life harder for the people of Nepal for the past 4-5 days.Some people in Nepal blame India for the shortage by imposing an embargo. India denies imposing blockade, saying truck drivers are concerned for their safety after protests in the country.Related Read: Nepali leader tipped to be PM says India ‘breaking international law’ by ‘halting cross-border trade’

After blackout, Nepal government asks cable operators to air Indian TV channels

The Nepal government on Tuesday asked cable operators to continue the broadcast of Indian TV channels and sought explanation from them for blacking out the channels in the wake of blockade of trade checkpoints with India by agitators opposing the new Constitution.

Protest against the Nepal constitution

Image Courtesy : Wikimedia commons
The Nepal government on Tuesday asked cable operators to continue the broadcast of Indian TV channels and sought explanation from them for blacking out the channels in the wake of blockade of trade checkpoints with India by agitators opposing the new Constitution.The Ministry of Information and Communications sought clarification from various cable operators as to why action must not be taken against them as they have violated the National Broadcasting Act.Cable TV operators in Nepal today stopped airing all the Indian channels to protest blockade of a key trade checkpoint with India by agitators opposing Nepal’s new Constitution. The Ministry said that the cable operators violated the provisions and had stopped broadcasting the channels without any prior notice.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ministry has asked them to furnish clarification within 24 hours and continue the broadcast. President of Federation of Nepal Cable Television Association, Sushil Parajuli on Monday said that the cable operators decided to stop the broadcast of the Indian channels as “India has been intruding in the national sovereignty of Nepal.”Unrest in Nepal’s Terai plains over the new Constitution has led to the blockade of Birgunj trade checkpoint with India, cutting off vital supplies. The country is reeling under scarcity of essential goods including petroleum products and cooking gas due to the blockade along the border areas.Normal life has been severely affected due to the growing tension in the border areas. Meanwhile, the cadres of agitating Madhes-based parties on Tuesday vandalised Nepal-bound vehicles which were stranded at Indian customs point.Three vehicles ferrying goods, including petroleum products, were vandalised at Ram Janaki Temple in Sunauli, the Indian town bordering Nepal this afternoon. Human rights activist Krishna Pahadi has sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying, “The blockade has damaged Nepal-India relations and also shattered Modi’s efforts to cement ties between the two neighbours.”Meanwhile, Bijaya Gachhadar, president of Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum Democratic, a moderate Madhesi party, after attending a meeting with the government officials claimed that the border blockade was not due to the agitating Madhesi cadres.A meeting was held between Chairman of Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar and Terai Madhes Democratic Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur at latter’s residence at Sanothimi in the district on Tuesday.At least 40 people have died in over a month of clashes between police and protesters from the Madhesi and Tharu communities and ethnic minorities. The agitating Madhesi Front claims that the Constitution does not guarantee enough rights and representation to the Madhesi and Tharu communities. Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai plains bordering India.

Will establish link with China through road if blockade doesn’t end: Nepal

Upping the ante, Nepal said it is looking at establishing contacts with China through land route and with other countries through air if the blockade on India border does not end soon.Nepalese deputy PM and home minister, Bamdev Gautam told dna in an interview that it is keeping its options open and will not bow to any pressure.“It is true that India is a strong country and a big economy but to live we will have to make alternative arrangements. It is within our rights to have alternative arrangements… Nepal has never bowed down to anyone and will not bow even now. We will establish contact with China through land and with other countries through air to get the essential supplies,” said Guatam.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Blaming squarely the government of India, Gautam said that all border check posts along Indian border have closed down and the Indian government has fully supported the blockade.“Indian representatives say it is not Indian government’s policy but the Indian officials at the border have told us that they are doing it as per the instructions of their government. This blockade has been done in favour of Madhesi parties. About 29-30 years ago India had done blockade for several days when Rajiv Gandhi was the PM then Nepal showed that Nepal can never be bowed down due to blockade,” said Gautam.People in Kathmandu have started feeling the pangs of the blockade on the India-Nepal border that continued for the fourth successive day. Several petrol pumps reported shortage of fuel supply in the valley and many turned the vehicles away.Sources in the government said that the road leading to border check point with China at Tatopani near Sindhupal Chowk that was devastated in the earthquake is being rebuilt and will not take more than seven days to complete.“It is hardly 114 kilometres from Kathmandu and once ready supplies can reach Kathmandu within 4-6 hours. The other border check point with China, Syapra Besi near Nuakot is also only 132 kilometres away and can be opened up in a few months if needed. China would be more than happy to help us,” said a highly-placed Nepalese government official.India, however, considers this as more of a posturing by Nepal. Senior government sources dealing with the situation said, it is easier said than done as Nepal knows how much it depends on India, and the Chinese will also not be interested. Nepal is using this only as a bargaining chip.“The Madhesis have genuine concerns which have not been met by Nepal’s constitution. Nepal would do well if it calls the Madhesis, listens to them and at least gives them some assurance to end this crisis and blockade,” said a senior official.

India, Nepal seek way out as blockade along border adds to troubles

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.

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