Home Minister Balkrishna Khand said there should be no hesitation in calling Madhesis true nationalists.

"It's no secret that the people in the southern plain have played a very important role in protecting the border of our country, so in that sense they are true nationalists of our country," said the minister at a programme in Simraungadh, Bara, today. "There are security forces deployed at the border, but with limited resources, they wouldn't be able to protect our borders if it were not for the residents in this belt," he added.

On a different note, the minister stressed the need to make the nation united by rising above narrow linguistic, religious, ethnic and communal divides. "We have to make our country strong, but this can happen only when the Nepali Congress is strong," said the NC leader, urging his party's rank and file to do what it takes to make the party win maximum seats in the upcoming election. "NC has to win for the development of Madhes and the country," he said.

Also, the ruling coalition leader assured that the government would soon resolve the citizenship-related dispute. "Denying citizenship to anyone who is born and brought up in Nepal doesn't add up, so the government will resolve the citizenship-related debate soon," he said.

Yet on a different note, the minister described the American MCC project as a grant rather than a military alliance.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 5, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.