Kathmandu, February 1:

Co-chairman of the Rastriya Janashakti Party Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani today said the Terai was aflame as the interim statute does not talk of a federal system of governance, proportional representation system and reservation for uplift of communities living below the national development index.

Speaking at a programme at the Reporters’ Club here, Lohani said that though Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s address to the nation promising a federal system was a positive move, the model would be finalised by the constituent assembly. At least one representative from each district could be the best way to ensure representation of all communities, he added.

He also urged the parties to add three more provisions in the interim constitution — power to the parliament to control the executive chief; a federal system of governance and proportional representation system along with reservation for some communities still below the human development index. Jhala Nath Khanal of the CPN-UML said all political parties which fought autocracy were responsible for the unrest in the Terai as they did not have a clear vision to address problems faced by the Madhesi people.

Stating that the PM’s commitment to a federal system was a positive one, Khanal said proportional representation could be the best way to address the Terai people’s concerns. He also said that the PM’s appeal to the agitating forces to come to the talks table was positive.

Khanal, who has returned after taking part in the centennial celebrations of Satyagraha in India, said the Indian government was sympathetic to and concerned by the developments in Nepal. “The national and international situation is favourable for the democratic forces to move ahead for a consolidated and prosperous new Nepal,” he said, adding that the Indian leaders stressed the need for unity among the democratic forces.

Sujata Koirala of the Nepali Congress said constituent assembly elections could be affected if the Terai unrest continues. She said all the problems surfaced after the interim constitution came into force. “It is the bold step on the part of the PM to express commitment to a federal system of governance,” she said.

NC-D leader Dr Minendra Rijal said the Terai unrest should be viewed from the point of their expression of grievances. The Terai people have a feeling of being second-class citizens in the country, he said. He added that the PM’s address expresses the government’s willingness for talks. Although the PM said that the nation would go for a democratic federal system, its modality would be determined by the constituent assembly, he said.