Talks With Madhesi Parties Making Progress: Nepal Deputy PM Kamal Thapa

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Talks With Madhesi Parties Making Progress: Nepal Deputy PM Kamal Thapa

The agitation Madhesis by has led to a halt in supply of essential goods, causing acute shortage of fuel in Nepal.

Kathmandu:  Talks between Nepal government and Madhesi groups agitating over the country's new Constitution today ended inconclusively, but Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa said the dialogue was moving in a positive direction.

Joint Democratic Madhesi Front, the main grouping of the Madhesi parties, however decided to continue their nearly three-month agitation, amid a severe shortage of fuel in the landlocked country.

Both sides today agreed to continue the talks after some time. The Madhesi Front demanded that the main Opposition Nepali Congress be included in the next round of the talks.

"No concrete result has yet come out from the talks, but we have decided to continue with the dialogue with the government," Laxman Lal Karna, vice-president of Sadbhawana Party, a major component of the Madhesi Front, told PTI.

"We have asked the government to include main Opposition Nepali Congress in the next round of talks and the government has agreed to do so," he said.

The two sides agreed to build a political consensus to address the demands of the protesters and for that the meeting involving top leaders of the ruling parties, Nepali Congress and the Madhesi parties will sit in a few days, Mr Karna said.

The government's negotiating team, headed by Mr Thapa, has in-principle agreed to re-demarcate the boundaries of the federal provinces, the main demand of the agitating parties.

However, to amend the new Constitution, Nepali Congress's involvement was essential as the party commands more than one third seats in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.

At least two-thirds majority is required to pass a Constitution Amendment bill.

Mr Thapa told PTI that the talks were moving in a positive direction.

Madhesis - who claim to represent the interests of the Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal's Terai region (plains) - have been protesting close to the main Nepal-India trading point near Raxaul, through which about 70 per cent of bilateral trade is done.

Their agitation has led to a halt in supply of essential goods, causing acute shortage of fuel in Nepal.

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