Exactly three months after the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) suspended its five-month long movement on the eve of Prime Minister K P Oli’s state visit to Delhi in February, the Federal Alliance is trying to pick up the thread from where it was left earlier.
The Federal Alliance that has the UDMF and other two dozen parties and ethic groups, began their street protest aimed at paralysing the entire secretariat including that of the Prime Minister’s office since Sunday. It has been successful in bringing the national capital to a halt, but it is still too uncertain about its impact on the life of the government led by K P Oli and supported by the Maoists.
The movement has participation of Front as well as hill, mountain and Kathmandu based ethnic groups which politically means, a movement directed against all the key political parties. The Maoists that had earlier taken a sympathetic stance toward the Madhesi Movement has remained indifferent this time following a whip issued by Party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal not to support the alliance. Although this movement sends across a bigger psychological message, borders are open as usual and how the political course will follow will largely depend on how the government responds to the movement. The Human Rights monitors on the first day said there was remarkable restrain from both sides.
The alliance wants a review of the earlier decision of the ruling coalition to have seven federal units carved out, but it fails to clearly define the basis of federation and number of provinces it wants in the country. However, there are signs that the government and the alliance are inching for a much bigger confrontation as Oli stated publicly that all demands of the Madhesis have been ‘fulfilled’.
But the movement in Kathmandu comes at a time when there are speculations that Oli is ‘oath bound’ to step down following a ‘gentlemen agreement’ between him and Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal two weeks ago. Highly placed sources say Oli has agreed to propose Dahal as his successor after the budget scheduled to be presented in the House on May 15 is passed by the House.