Gupta claimed that the demand is irrelevant and insignificant at a time when the government should focus on peace and constitution.

KATHMANDU: United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) leaders today turned down UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s proposal to review the four-point deal that made way for the formation the incumbent coalition government.

“We renewed our commitment to the four-point deal, the bedrock of the current ruling coalition. Coalition partners are free to discuss the pact,” Minister for Information and Communications JP Gupta, one of the architects of the four-point deal, informed after talks with leaders of the ruling coalition at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Baluwatar this evening.

Branding the four-point deal ‘anti-national’, the Baidhya-Thapa alliance — the Maoist faction comprising party Vice-chairman Mohan Baidhya and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa — has refused to send its leaders to the Baburam Bhattarai-led government. The alliance has been demanding that the deal be scrapped, especially after Defence Minister Sharat Singh Bhandari’s remarks that no constitution can stop 22 districts of Tarai-Madhes if they choose to secede.

Asked whether the government was considering sacking Defence Minister Bhandari and Land Reforms and Management Minister Prabhu Sah, who is accused of the murder of Hindu Yuva Sangh Chairman Kashi Nath Tiwari, as per the opposition parties’ demand, Gupta claimed that the demand is irrelevant and insignificant at a time when the government should focus on peace and constitution.

“We have decided to discuss the matter at the party level first. At a joint meeting, we will devise a way to ensure smooth functioning of the Parliament’s proceedings,” Gupta said.

He said today’s talks also dwelt on issues to be raised during the PM’s upcoming India visit.

Minister for Physical Planning and Works Hridayesh Tripathi informed that the government has directed government secretaries to set the agendas for the upcoming visit and present it to the Prime Minister tomorrow.

“Once the secretaries fix the agendas, the government will hold an all-party meeting within a day or two to finalise them,” Tripathi said.

PM Bhattarai also held consultations with his principal political and economic advisers, chief secretary and other government secretaries.  TIKA R PRADHAN (The Himalayan)

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