Madhesi leaders rise to Madhes cause
Added At: 2012-04-19 11:10 PM
Last Updated At: 2012-04-19 11:10 PM
HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Madhesi lawmakers from various parties today formed two pressure groups to press for an autonomous Madhes within the Constituent Assembly and outside of it.
The newly created 20-member Broader Madhesi Front, led by MJF-Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav, will work with indigenous nationalities, Dalits and other marginalised groups of civil society, leaders said.
Similarly, the CA caucus will lobby for the cause within the constitution-making body, said MJF-D leader Sharat Singh Bhandari. The development comes as three dozen Madhesi lawmakers, including those from UCPN-M, CPN-UML and Nepali Congress, dwelt on future strategies for six hours before issuing a seven point commitment paper.
In the commitment paper, Madhesi lawmakers said they would strive for a federal constitution that would ensure equality and inclusion and pave the way for provinces to be created on the basis of identity and economic capability. They said they would press for an autonomous Madhes Pradesh with right to self-determination.
The paper also calls for constitutional provisions to guarantee proportional representation of all Madhesis, Dalits and all marginalised groups in all state organs. Madhesi lawmakers have also committed to ensuring citizenship right to the children of all Nepali citizens.
MJF-D leader Bhandari said, “Our concerns have been reflected in various agreements that the government signed with Madhesi parties in the past. Fifty-two Madhesis died for the cause during the Madhes movement. We are ready to do anything to pressure major parties.”
Lawmaker and Chief of Dalit Janajati Party Bishendra Paswan said they would create enough pressure within Parliament against major parties to ensure autonomous provinces.
Asked why they felt the need to form another front when United Democratic Madhesi Front is already in existence, Bhandari said the UDMF will put pressure from within the government but the new alliance would work outside the government. Jitendra Dev, spokesperson for the MJF-D, said Madhesi leaders will take to the streets if an autonomous Madhes province was not guaranteed in the constitution. Others said they would be ready to defy their parties’ whip to ensure meaningful federalism.