RAM KUMAR KAMAT
KATHMANDU: Scorned by Madhesi voters and well-wishers for failing to prevent splits and fragmentation, Madhesi parties are now seriously trying to form a powerful Madhesi party with the aim of preventing the major parties, particularly the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML, from taking advantage of the fragmentation of the Madhesi forces.
Mahantha Thakur-led Tarai Madhes Democratic Party, which initiated the efforts in this regard, has held talks with the stakeholders twice. Although Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav, has rejected the idea of joining the initiative again, the proponents, however, believe such a process would yield positive results soon. “I cannot tell when we will form one powerful party, but we have done some groundwork on this. Even if other Madhesi parties do not come forward, we are in favour of merging MJF-D and TMDP. Once we do that other parties will be compelled to join us,” said Jitendra Dev, spokesperson for MJF-D.
Although party leaders declined to divulge details of the merger modalities, sources privy to the latest developments of the unity talks said there was a possibility that Thakur could be made paramount leader of the unified party whose approval would be necessary for all party decisions and Gachhadar could be made Executive Chairman of the party. The proposed model could also have two to three post of Joint Chairman to accommodate some chiefs of other Madhesi parties.
“Our political slogans are the same and there is no reason why we cannot be united,” said Jitendra Dev, spokesperson for the MJF-D. Sources said second rank of the leaders of other Madhesi parties are in favour of merging their outfits but chiefs of some parties are averse to the idea because they believe they would not get the exposure they are getting now. Chairman of a Madhesi party, who is a minister, said forming one powerful party was not possible.
Analysts believe that the formation of one powerful party under democratic forces could protect Madhes from falling into the hands of communist parties and also those Madhesi leaders who were once card carrying members of the communist parties and often side with communist forces and want to run their party like the communist outfits.
“Unity of Madhesi parties is good news but I do not think it would be easy,” said political analyst Prof Birendra Prasad Mishra.
MJF-N Chair Upendra Yadav said the Madhesi parties that were in the government had no organisation in Madhes and were talking of unity to secure their future in the next elections. “Madhesis view Madhesi ministers with contempt for their mistakes, lust for power and disregard for Madhes issues,” said Yadav.
Prof Mishra said Madhesi leaders were mainly trained in democratic and communist schools . They could not unite first and even if they did they would soon part their ways.
Mishra said caste-based politics, as was the case in bordering states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, was slowly taking roots in Madhes, which could pose challenge to unity of Madhesi forces.
Khushi Lal Mandal, leader of NSP (Anandi Devi) said the ruling Madhesi parties could not stick to any of the vital Madhesi issues, including One Madhes Pradesh.