Madhesi parties fear alienation

Kathmandu, July 3:

Madhesi parties fear alienation by major parties — CPN-Maoist, CPN-UML and Nepali Congress — as the latter are ‘engaged in behind-the-scene game of power-sharing’.

The three parties had already agreed in principle to incorporate the demands of Madhesi parties into the interim constitution a few days ago.

Madhesi parties are demanding that the phrases used in the February 26 agreement with the government — an autonomous Madhes Province and group-wise entry of Madhesis into Nepal Army — be incorporated into the constitution.

NC and the UML are opposed to use the word Madhes. NC had been backing the Madhesi parties but now the latter fear if the former is just selling the Madhes issue to bargain for power.

“I suspect that the NC is also behind this game because the NC-led government is to bring a supplementary bill to the House for the voting if there is no consensus. Two days have passed and nothing has happened in that regard,” Tarai Madhes Democratic Party leader Hridayesh Tripathi said.

“I fear that once the power-sharing game is over, these parties will bring a distorted version of the supplementary bill,” Tripathi said.

He said Maoists had, in principle, agreed for an autonomous Madhes province but were waiting for NC and UML’s backing.

“The UML’s stance on autonomous Madhes is very negative. This is unfortunate,” Tripathi said.

President of the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum Upendra Yadav also suspects that

the three major parties might collaborate to alienate the Madhesi parties at the eleventh hour.

“NC’s initial stance on our demands was softer but I will not be surprised if NC joins UML and Maoists against Madhes autonomy,” Yadav said, adding that the three parties had a history of ditching Madhesi people.

“If the three majpr parties continue to ditch Madhesi people, their support base will be wiped out from the Madhes,” he said and added that the Madhesi parties would not budge on their stance. Yadav blamed UML, particularly, general secretary Jhala Nath Khanal camp as the biggest obstacle to Madhes autonomy.

When asked if they were really the biggest obstacle, Khanal said, “That is absolutely right, because we cannot accept One Madhes, One Pradesh, as it is wrong, unscientific and against the interest of the Tarai people.”

He said the current deadlock should be resolved through a democratic process and the CA should debate the issue.

He, however, denied the allegation that the three major parties were prolonging the deadlock to strike a power-sharing deal.