Kathmandu, January 19:

Lawmaker and central working committee member of the Nepali Congress (Democratic) Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar said today that the Madhesi community should raise a unified voice to secure their rights.

He said that the entire Madhes should be declared a federal state if the Madhesi people wanted a say in state affairs.

Addressing a programme organised by the Tharu Kalyankari Sabha in honour of the Tharu MPs in the Legislature-Parliament, Gachhadar said that some of the clauses in the interim constitution should be amended before the nation goes for an election to a constituent assembly.

“I withdrew proposal of amendments in the interim constitution on Monday after Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala assured us of making necessary amendments before the constituent assembly election is held,” he said. He lamented that the interim constitution did not even mention a single word about restructuring the state and about federalism. He also demanded that the constituencies should be delimited according to the distribution of population.

“Madhesi people account for about 40 per cent of the total population of the country and their representation in the state affairs should also be of the same proportion,” he said. Out of about 70 Madheshi MPs there are 18 Tharus in the interim Legislature-Parliament nominated by various political parties. Govinda Chaudhary, an NSP (A) nominee, said that the late King Mahendra settled people of hill origin in the Madhes in the 1960s by snatching land of the Madhesi people in the name of land reforms. “The move was a deliberate attempt to outnumber the Madhesi people in their land.”