KATHMANDU: As three major parties — the Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML — intensify their talks to sort out disputed issue related to federalism, United Democratic Madhesi Front has made it clear that it will not accept the proposal to mix Madhes areas with non-Madhes pradesh(es).
A meeting of UDMF leaders today dwelt on issues of federalism and UML’s refusal to join the Baburam Bhattarai-led government.
“By autonomous Madhes Pradesh we mean one Madhes Pradesh. The areas of Madhes should not be mixed with non-Madhes pradesh(es),” said Jitendra Dev, Spokesperson for Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-D after today’s meeting. UDMF, he said, though would stick to its stance until the last moment, it would be ready to debate the issue with other major parties if the latter came up with a forward-looking proposal that could strike a chord with all the major stakeholders.
According to a source, UDMF top leaders briefed the meeting that NC leaders had made it clear that they would agree to make a new constitution only when other parties accept their proposal to make Jhapa, Sunsari and Morang a separate pradesh in the far-east, blend Kailali and Kanchanpur with hill pradesh in the far-west and Chitwan with Bagmati Pradesh in the central region. When asked, NC leader Arjun Narsingh KC admitted to demanding so. “We are of the view that accepting the identity of one ethnic group as the basis of a certain pradesh could lead to ethnic conflicts,” KC clarified.
On the contrary, Dev said the Maoist proposal to have 10 federal units could be a win-win situation for everybody, as it would reflect the mood of the Constituent Assembly and State Restructuring Commission on the one hand, and would address the issues of identity and viability, on the other.
However, one thing is clear: UDMF, unlike Upendra Yadav-led Broader Madhesi Front, will not take to the street to press for their demand of autonomous Madhes Pradesh. “We do not want to take the blame if a new constitution is not framed. We will wait and watch, until May 27. People will judge who are in favour of a new constitution and who are not,” said Sarvendranath Shukla, Spokesperson for the Tarai Madhes Democratic Party.
MJF-Nepal Chair Upendra Yadav said major political parties wanted to carve out five provinces in Madhes by mixing Tarai districts with non-Madhes areas but Madhesi people would never accept that.
Meanwhile, terming the five-point deal historic, UDMF has appealed to UML to join the Bhattarai government.by RAM KUMAR KAMAT the himalayan times