HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: As many as 14 Madhesi lawmakers of the CPN-UML have joined the chorus against the 11-pradesh model of federalism, tipping the scale against the proposal on which the three major parties — Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML — have agreed.
The Broader Madhesi Front and United Democratic Madhesi Front have taken serious exception to the 11-pradesh model. And 14 Madhesi lawmakers of UML are demanding that the 11-pradesh proposal be corrected.
At a press conference organised on the Constituent Assembly premises, Raghuvir Mahaseth, who is also the chairman of the Democratic Madhesi Organisation, said, “We are in favour of 14 pradeshes as recommended by the thematic committee of the Constituent Assembly or 10 pradeshes as recommended by the State Restructuring Commission.” He was, however, quick to add that he did not favour one Madhes Pradesh, a demand championed by Madhes-based parties. “Our party’s position is seven-eight pradeshes. We had decided to have two pradeshes in the Tarai three years ago and we stick to it,” Mahaseth clarified. He added that if the 11-pradesh model was ratified unanimously in the CA, then they would have no objection. Asked what they will do if their party decided to expel them from the party, Mahaseth said, “I do not think the party will expel us, but if it did, then we will think about our strategy.”
UML Chief Whip Bhim Acharya said he had not personally talked to the 14 lawmakers and would react about their action only after knowing all the facts. “If they are just talking of their political position, then it is not otherwise,” said Acharya when asked what action his party will initiate against these lawmakers.
Mahaseth said he was of the view that the 11-pradesh proposal was not scientific and therefore a correction was needed. Mahaseth also opposed the agreement reached among four political forces to have 376-member Parliament. “We are only 30 million population and want to have 311 members in the Lower House, but India which is a billion plus country has only 545 MPs,” said Mahaseth, adding that the proposal to elect five MPs from each pradeshes in the Upper House was wrong. “They should be elected on the basis of population.”
On forms of governance, Mahaseth said either his party’s proposal to have directly elected prime minister should be accepted or directly elected President should be given more executive powers. “Curtailing rights of a directly elected President is wrong. Distribution of power among the President and prime minister will only create dual power centres,” Mahaseth commented.