The government team and representatives of Dr Govinda KC, whose hunger strike marked 25th day on Tuesday, are said to have reached agreements on some of the demands.
According to a joint statement issued by Education Secretary Khagaraj Baral and Dr Abhishek Raj Singh, coordinator of Dr KC’s talks team, negotiations on the remaining issues will continue on Wednesday morning.
Another member of Dr KC’s talks team, Advocate Om Prakash Aryal said the two sides had agreed not to reveal the outcome of Tuesday’s discussions. He, however, added that all the issues would be agreed by Wednesday.
A series of informal meetings between Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Subas Nembang and former vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University Kedar Bhakta Mathema and Nepal Medical Council Chairman Dharma Kant Banskota on Monday evening and Tuesday morning led to the formal talks. With the government led by KP Sharma Oli feeling intense heat from all sides, NCP leaders Nembang and Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali had reached out to Dr KC’s representatives.
On Monday afternoon, Gyawali, Nembang, Attorney General Agni Kharel and Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel discussed ways to address Dr KC’s demands. The meeting tasked Nembang with making technical preparations for amending the National Medical Education Bill registered in Parliament.
The issue was also discussed at the NCP Secretariat meeting on Monday evening attended by Prime Minister Oli and NCP Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
On Tuesday afternoon, Oli and Dahal met Mathema and NMC Chair Banskota in Baluwatar to express their seriousness to address Dr KC’s demands. Oli and Dahal are learnt to have told Mathema and Banskota that the government talks team had got “full mandate”, urging the duo to facilitate negotiations if necessary. On Monday, both Oli and Dahal were aggressive towards Dr KC.
Government sources said both sides had been flexible to amend the bill registered in Parliament. Earlier, Dr KC wanted nothing less than ejection of the medical education bill from Parliament, to which the government did not agree arguing that the sovereign Parliament should be left to decide the fate of the bill.
During informal meetings with Nembang and Attorney General Kharel, Dr KC’s representatives are learnt to have urged the government to revise the bill, which found positive response from the NCP leaders. “It’s a positive development on the part of Dr KC,” said Nembang. The fasting surgeon had maintained that talks would be held only with a powerful team.
In their meeting with Nembang and Kharel at Singha Durbar, Dr KC’s representatives presented a list of issues for the government to address. Both sides were then ready for a formal meeting.
Former VC Mathema said both NCP leaders seemed concerned about Dr KC’s health and were willing to resolve the issue soon. “I think things will be resolved soon,” he said.
Respective sides would brief PM Oli and Dr KC on the developments before further talks.