India hopes new Nepal PM will act on eight-point deal

New Delhi, Oct 13 (IANS) India has expressed hope that new Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli will act on the eight-point agreement he has signed that promises to amend the new constitution to address the concerns voiced by Madhes people seeking adequate representation.

“We hope Oli will move on the eight-point agreement he has signed and made public; we have to wait and see if he does that,” a top official source said here on Tuesday.

The source also noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his congratulatory message to Oli on Sunday, expressed the hope and expectation that the new Nepalese prime minister will carry all sections of society along for peace and stability in the Himalayan country.

The source noted that the political leaders in Nepal have over the past 20 days “shown greater willingness to address issues”, which was not the case earlier.

Ever since Nepal promulgated its new constitution, India has voiced the view that the Himalayan nation should address the concerns of the people living in Madhes (southern Terai plains of Nepal), as they form over half the population, and that they should be given greater representation.

The violent protests by the Madhesis and Janjatis against the new constitution, which they say deprives them of representation in government affairs, has led them to blockade entry points from India for freight trucks that supply oil and other essentials to Nepal.

The development has led to tension in ties with Nepal, with the country’s ambassador in India saying his country would “look to China” for essential suuplies.

The source noted that India maintains that the Nepalese constitution needs to carry all sections of the people along and if a large section of Nepal’s population felt left out, resultant discontent will impinge on India as well as the Madhes region bordering India.

The eight-point deal was signed between Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar-led Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic, Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Oli’s Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist to support Oli in the contest for premiership.

The deal commits Oli to ensure proportional inclusion of all sections of Nepalese people as stated in the interim constitution; to amend the constitution on the basis of political understanding; to resolve the issue of provincial boundaries by treating the issues raised by Madhesis and Tharus and people of mountain and hill districts as political issues.

It also commits to delineate election constituencies mainly on the basis of population, but without depriving any district of at least one constituency; provide compensation to those who lost their loved ones during the protests; ensure free medical treatment to the injured, and providing compensation to those who lost their property and business during the protests.

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