Madhes politics is no longer influenced by any single entity. There are many forces at play here and they are all competing to spread their influence in the tarai.
There is growing international interest. But our political leaders are again playing with the sentiments of ordinary people to further their vested interest. Despite the pro-madhes demonstrations, the people in the tarai haven't gained much.
Even the MJF has been unable to do much despite its 22-point understanding with the government. Of course, there have been changes in the madhes: communal feelings have come to the fore. Society has been polarized as those with populist, radical slogans catch the people's attention. Foreigners have also started taking interest, especially after the suspension of elections. India, which has long played a role in the development of the madhes, is not happy with other foreigners showing interest.
The Maoists, stung by their loss of support after the January uprising, have also been manoeuvring to restore their presence on the ground here. It is all right for Nepal's politics if the Maoists are trying to win over the local population with its political ideals, but it looks like the Maoists are bent on retaliation and are using their tested violent methods.
If the mainstream parties do not engage in the madhes while the door for dialogue is still open, the situation could go out of everyone's control. The parties have to work towards protecting Nepal's identity and integrity. The government's presence is negligible, mistrust of the state is growing. Inter-ethnic tensions are intensifying in this vacuum.
People aren't that worried about the suspension of elections, the feeling is that the parties should use this time to carry out proper elections and urgently work to win back the trust of the madhesi people.