9-15 October 2015 #779

Blatant nepotism

October 6, 2015 www.onlinekhabar.com

What might the leaders of the Madhes-based parties do if they are granted an autonomous province? How will they govern? 

They will not be bothered much by those who lost their lives during the current agitation, they will be back to wheeling and dealing. Madhes-based leaders misused the votes they got from citizens by offering positions in the Constituent Assembly (CA) to their own wives, relatives and wealthy individuals from the hills. The choices they have made in the proportional representation (PR) to the CA is the strongest evidence of nepotism. 

Madhes-based parties won 82 seats in the first CA election but came down to 49 in the second one. Among those just 12 were directly elected ones, and the rest are based on proportional representation. Rajendra Mahato, who chairs the Sadbhavana Party and is known to be an aggressive activist for the rights of the Madhes, has given one seat to his own wife, Shail Kumari Devi. Another leader, Raj Kishor Yadav, who broke away from the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum handed the only PR seat for his party to his wife, Sarita Kumari Yadav, who has no prior political experience. Similarly, Anil Jha gave the only PR seat for his party, Federal Sadbhavana Party, to his wife, Dimple Jha, who is an ayurvedic doctor.

Sharad Singh Bhandari of the National Madhesi Socialist Party didn’t give a PR seat to his wife. Instead, he gave it to a woman who is widely thought to be having a relationship with him: Nirjala Raut, who is an American citizen. After becoming a member of Bhandari’s party, Raut has revoked her American citizenship. Indra Jha of the Tarai Madhes Democratic Party, a member of the CA, also happens to be Mahanta Thakur’s relative.

Meanwhile, Madhes-based parties have also sold off positions to wealthy individuals from the hills. In a meeting of the Sadbhavana Party, Narendra Shah was handed a PR seat after others failed to pay more than Shah’s Rs 10 million committed. Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum Demoratic’s Bijaya Gacchadar is also known to have sold positions to Gita Rana, Baburam Pokhrel and Subodh Pokhrel.

A former personal assistant of Mahanta Thakur seized Thakur’s car after complaining that he was not given a PR seat that he was promised.