A federal constitution has never been a priority for opposition parties said Mahant Thakur

Terai Madhes Democratic Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur today said that Madhesi forces are in favour of a new constitution but it should be drafted through the Constituent Assembly only.

Addressing a programme organised by the TMDP affiliated Democratic Teachers Union, Thakur said if a new constitution was framed outside the CA, then disparity would continue to remain in society.

Genuine federalism, he said, can alone empower Madhesi and other marginalised communities and if a new constitution did not ensure that, the marginalised communities would not hesitate to raise the issue.

“A federal constitution has never been a priority for opposition parties.

Their views, however, on federalism are not clear,” Thakur said in an oblique reference to the Nepali Congress and the CPNUML. “They do not accept one Madhes Pradesh in the Terai. Nor do they accept

single identity based federalism in the hills,” he added.

The Madhes leader said the then king held referendum in 1980 on multi party system but that did not stem the cause of resentment, and therefore, if a referendum was held on federalism, it would not remove the causes of conflict.

Thakur went on to add, Madhes contributes two thirds of the national revenue but get less than 30 per cent budget. “In order to protect our cultural identity, establish control over local administration and make judicious use of our resources, we need to have federalism,” he told the gathering. Madhes, he continued saying, was a centre of excellence in the past but today it is lagging in all fields due to growing inequality and marginalisation.

TMDP General Secretary Jitendra Sonal urged party affiliated teachers to expose the NC and the UML for their ‘anti-federalist stances’ which he said resulted in the demise of the CA. “Those who are talking of parliamentary elections and a constitution outside the CA are hatching conspiracy to deny rights to Madhesi and other marginalised communities,” Sonal added.

Jitendra Singh, a Central Committee member of the TMDP said his party was intensifying talks with other Madhesi forces to make a single powerful party in order to realise the sacrifices of 54 Madhesi martyrs and the teachers could play a vital role in that regard by spreading the message of unity and collaboration across Madhes. Another CC member Chanda Chaudhari opined that a misperception prevails among parents in Madhes that they would have to pay higher dowry if they educate their girl children; and sough teachers’ help to generate enough awareness against the social evil.

Yogendra Raut, Member of Teachers’ Service Commission said quality education was key to empowerment, and therefore, Madhesi teachers needed to promote quality education across the region.

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