KATHMANDU, MAY 10 – With the parties deciding to put the contentious issues concerning statute drafting to voting in the Constituent Assembly, lawmakers from the ethnic and Madhesi groups have decided to vote together on the issue of federalism.
The two sides have reached an agreement to this effect. “We have decided to have a common position on federalism, including the issue of identity,” said Jitendra Narayan Dev, general secretary of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik (MJF-L).
CPN-UML lawmaker Prithivi Subba Gurung said the two sides have agreed to cooperate each other while hammering out the burning issues of federalism and stay united for single identity. “We have agreed in principle to help each other during voting in the Constituent Assembly.” Gurung said the two sides also agreed to oppose north-south division of the country. “We have also agreed to object to the seven-state model floated by the Nepali Congress that calls for multiple provinces”.
Gurung, however, informed that the two sides are yet to give final shape and make an understanding possibly on Thursday. The Samuykta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha had on Tuesday had reiterated its demand for an autonomous single Madhes state. The ethnic lawmakers have been demanding for states based on ethnicity.
Soon after parties decided to go for voting, Madhesi lawmakers were busy forging strategies to deal with the questions handed by the Constitutional Committee. They reiterated their stance to oppose NC’s seven-state model, as voiced by the ethnic group. The Madhesi lawmakers objected to the demand for an undivided Far-West, standing on the same wavelength with the ethnic lawmakers.
The Madhesi lawmakers are, however, positive on the demand of ethnic lawmakers to accomodate some areas of Jhapa district in the proposed Limbuwan province. They have also decided to hold talks with Tharus on disputed areas in Chitwan.
Meanwhile, the Morcha meeting saw heated discussions among lawmakers on whether to follow party leadership directions. MJF-L lawmaker Pramod Gupta said Morcha’s second-rung leaders have assured the lawmakers of working for the welfare of Madhes. For that they would cooperate with the newly formed Broader Madhesi Front, he said.
The alliance of Madhesi and ethnic lawmakers has been possible after several rounds of negotiations. Informed sources have said the two sides had more than a dozen rounds of talks to forge a common strategy. MJF-L lawmaker Sarvadev Ojha said, “the two sides will cast block votes”. “If we don’t adopt the strategy of voting en block, there is a possibility of the respective parties taking action against them for crossing the floor”, he remarked.
Making further clear on their strategy, Ojha said that around 117 issues related to the constitution writing would be put for voting and both the sides would help each other get their agendas passed.
Asked how the Madhesi lawmakers would convince representatives from the Tharu community, he said that the two sides have agreed to cooperate each other. “The Madhesi Morcha and leaders from the Tharu community have already agreed on the boundary of the would-be states in the southern plain,” he added.Post Report