Province 1 likely to be named ‘Koshi’ or ‘Sagarmatha’

Itahari, February 5

The fifth session of the Provincial Assembly of State 1 is beginning tomorrow afternoon. This session has been much-anticipated as it is finalising the name of the province 1 and its permanent headquarters after two years.

Biratnagar was declared the temporary capital of Province 1 on 6 May 2019. Since then the name of the state and its capital has not been put to discussion in the Provincial Assembly sessions.

This session, however, as said by Chief Minister of the State Sherdhan Rai in his repeated public speeches, will give a formal name to the state and its headquarters.

Though not discussed formally in the Provincial Assembly, at least half-a-dozen names are at play in various political and civilian discourses in the province. These names are from various fronts. Those, liking geographical landmarks as the name of state, have proposed Koshi, the biggest river of Nepal that flows in the province, and Sagarmatha, the highest peak of the planet Mt. Everest, as the name of the province.

Likewise, political parties and civilians, who are in favour of identity, have floated some other names for the province. ‘Kirat’, ‘Limbuwan Kirat’ and ‘Bijayapur’ — names associated with identity politics.

Some have also talked about mixed model in naming the province. Combined name including geographical landmark and cultural identity has been put forth by some members of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP). Sarbadhwaj Sanba, the Provincial Assembly member belonging to NPC said that Kirat-Limbuwan-Koshi can be a name of the mixed model.

Koshi is the ‘most probable’ name

Based on already declared names on the four provinces ruled by the NCP and some public remarks by senior leaders, it is likely that either Koshi or Sagarmatha will be the name of Province 1.

Names of states such as Karnali, Gandaki, Sudurpaschim, Bagmati are mainly based on landmarks. In a similar way, Province 1, as said by many NCP leaders, is likely to be named on the basis of landmarks such as Koshi and Sagarmatha.

Senior leader of NCP  Madhav Kumar Nepal had already proposed this name in formal forums. Nepal had proposed to name ‘Koshi’ at a programme organised by NCP Itahari on 26 October 2019.

“How long should we wait to call your province by a name?’’ Nepal had questioned Province 1 government. He added, “Go ahead with the name Koshi.’’

“Koshi is the most probable name because it has the backing both from ruling and the main opposition parties,’’ said an influential NCP leader of Province 1 on condition of anonymity.

According to the constitutional provision, two-thirds majority of the Provincial Assembly can give a permanent name to the state.

Currently, the ruling NCP has more than two-thirds seats in the 93-member Provincial Assembly. NCP has 67 members in the Provincial Assembly.

The main opposition Nepali Congress has 21 seats and Socialist Party-Nepal has three seats. Likewise, Rastriya Pajatantra Party and Limbuwan have one member each in the Provincial Assembly.