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What is the Madhesi Front up to?

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

After Prime Minister KP Oli’s India visit last month, Madhesi parties, apparently emboldened by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public statement, are trying to restart their agitation.

This week, the Madhesi Front, a coalition of seven Madhesi parties, unveiled a series of protest programs. But most of the protest programs are symbolic, and the Front is unlikely to go all out against the Big Three at least until the 13th General Convention of the Nepali Congress is over.

Madhesi parties have objected to several provisions of the new constitution, which was pushed through by the Big Three parties in September of last year. They are chiefly against the insertion of five plains districts – Sunsari, Morang, Jhapa, Kailali and Kanchanpur — in the hill provinces.

Even so, Front leaders know that the Big Three parties will never agree to insert the five disputed districts in the plains provinces. And, according to reliable sources, India has also asked them to rethink their demand.

Sources say India has floated a new proposal for the Big Three and the Front to discuss. If both sides agree to this proposal, Jhapa will remain in the eastern hill province but the southern parts of Sunsari and Morang will be placed in the eastern plains province. In the west, Kailali and Kanchanpur will remain in the far-western hill province but hill districts included in the western plains provinces will be put in other hill provinces.

A Front leader said this could be a win-win proposition but he warned of a strong agitation if the Big Three refuse to accept even this proposal.

The Front, overtly backed by India, spearheaded a six-month-long strike in the Tarai until last month, putting pressure on the Big Three parties to create only two Madhesi provinces covering the whole plains region. But ahead of Oli’s India visit, New Delhi resumed the supply of fuel to Nepal, forcing the Front to withdraw its strike.

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2 Responses to “What is the Madhesi Front up to?”

  1. Ragh Nath Mishra on Says:

    India should mind their own business and should not interfere with the businesses of the neighbouring countries. It will fail like they did in Sri Lanka. India has its own problems like Kashmir, and the eastern states who are demanding independence and should focus on these issues rather than meddling with the neighbours. Modi has a wrong advisors for Nepal, specially the Indian ambassador, giving him wrong information. In Nepal not only the madhesi are discriminated. We have some 65 ethnic groups in Nepal and none are privileged except a few of Bahuns and Chettris which comprise of some 30 percent. The Madhesi Morcha should focus more on building infrastructure, good schools, hospitals, industries, tourism and so on. They should try to make Biratnagar, the industrial capital, Janakpur an international centre for Hindu weddings and build 5 star hotels, Bhairwa, a Buddhist hub. More international airports are needed in the Terai, not agitation where the leaders only benefit. The leaders of Madhesi morcha has already betrayed the people and another agitation will be fiasco like the previous one.

  2. Ravi Raj Kaur on Says:

    Priorities are reconstruction, not rewriting.

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