Rajendra Mahato, president of Sadbhawana Party, has built a small media empire in the Madhes. He publishes the daily Madhes Post from Malangawa and Janakpur. Now he is set to launch FM radios in these districts. The Mahato-run Radio Madhes will also be aired from Rautahat.
However, Mahato is not the only Madhesi leader running media outlets for politics. TMLP Vice President Brisheshchandra Lal runs Janaki FM in Janakpur. TMLP leader Bijay Kumar Singh owns Janakpur FM. Maoist leader Subhash Yadav runs Bhorukwa FM in Saptari. Mai FM of Sarlahi district belongs to TMLP (Nepal) leader Mahendra Yadav.
Sadbhawana leader Anil Jha runs Sanskriti FM in Rautahat. Spokesperson of Sadbhawana Party Ram Naresh Raya runs Radio Rudraksha in Mahottari. Maoist leader Kumar Sharma runs Radio Jaleshwarnath.
MJF(D) leader Ram Aadhar Kapadi is the promoter of Appan Mithila. Unity Centre (Mashal) leader Chakradev Kamati runs Salahesah FM in Siraha. UML leaders run Samagra FM in Siraha.
Analysts say the involvement of the Madhesi leaders in FM radio will prove disastrous as they are primed to promote their own political interests. Bijay Mishra, who did his PhD on the Madhes movement, believes that conflict is imminent. "Initially, they invested in the media at the local level as they felt excluded by the Kathmandu-centric media. But unhealthy competition has cropped up that will lead to a conflict," he says.
TMLP president Mahendra Yadav, for instance, was transferred to Local Administration from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries when the previous government reshuffled its cabinet. Radio Madhes of Sadbhawana Party subsequently aired the news that Yadav had been demoted. Mishra says this kind of propaganda will instigate an internal conflict in the Madhes Mahottari-based reporter Dasarath Bhandari says, "The media has been used as a tool to hide the weaknesses of leaders and criticise their opponents."