HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepal Sadbhavana Party Chair Sarita Giri’s hunger strike continued on the 12th day today.
Giri has been staging hunger strike with 30-point demand with her key condition being delineation of constituencies in the Madhes region in proportion to the percentage of population. Other demands include guarantee of 33 per cent representation of women in the new Constituent Assembly and provision of online voting for Nepali migrant labourers.
Giri told THT that she would not break her hunger strike until the government held talks with her.
She said the issue of constituencies in Madhes in proportion to percentage of population in the region was a key demand of the NSP since its inception and that her party could not abandon the issue even if other Madhesi parties do so. After the Constituency Delineation Committee submitted its report, it has been almost finalised that the first-past-the-post seats would remain 240, just as in 2008 elections. The population in Madhes has increased exponentially.
“If the government cannot fulfil our demands, it should say so on the negotiating table but I am upset that the government is not even willing to talk to me,” she said. “The government seems to be waiting to see me collapse, so that it can hospitalise me, but I am strong and my will power is intact.” She said she was on indefinite hunger strike and not on fast-unto-death. “I am here to highlight the Madhesi cause. I am not here to die,” she added.
Giri flayed Madhesi parties, particularly the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum- Nepal and Sadbhavana Party, for compromising with the major parties and the government on constituency delineation.
“However, I do not harbour any ill-feelings towards Madhesi leaders for no expressing solidarity with me,” she said. “They are not with me because they think it is solely our movement. The so be it.” “The MJF-N and SP had launched movement for rational delineation of constituencies in Madhes and now they have abandoned this issue,” she added. She said constituencies could be increased in Madhes without amending the interim constitution.
The Madhesi leaders said a large number of people in Madhes were expressing solidarity with her party over the constituency delineation issue. Giri said the ruling class was ready to offer the posts of ministers to Madhesis, but was not ready to treat Madhesis as equal citizens. “Madhesis will not get equal rights as long as Madhesi leaders compromise on their issues,” she said.