MJF-L severs ties with NC-UML-Maoist blocIn a U-turn, the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik, a signatory to the 16-point deal that provided an impetus to the new constitution, on Friday announced to launch protests against the demarcation of states.
In a U-turn, the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik, a signatory to the 16-point deal that provided an impetus to the new constitution, on Friday announced to launch protests against the demarcation of states.
The party led by Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar criticises the deal as a design to “wipe out the identity of the Tharu community”, among others ethnic groups. This has finally separated the party from the alliance of the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML and the main opposition UCPN (Maoist).
The announcement came immediately after the three parties agreed to federate the country into seven provinces, ignoring the demands of the Madhesi communities. The political shift of Gachhadar, the only leader from a Tarai-based party to engage in the constitution drafting process lately, is seen as a major blow to the two largest parties’ efforts to promulgate a constitution of consensus.
Gachhadar said in a statement that his party “will oppose the discriminatory deal” in and outside the Constituent Assembly, while keeping the door for negotiations open.
“We ask the NC, UML and the UCPN (Maoist) to rethink the seven-state model, realising the seriousness of the situation,” Gachhadar stated. He also extended moral support to the ongoing protests in the Tarai-Madhes, Karnali, Tharu strongholds and Surkhet.
“We cannot hinder the statute drafting process. Neither can we accept a constitution disowned by Madhesis, Tharus, Adivasi Janajatis, Muslims and people facing exclusion,” reads the statement.
MJF-Loktantrik leaders said the significance of the 16-point deal, a four-party accord on resolving the thorny issues of the constitution, had ended with their departure.
“What’s the significance of the agreement when leaders of the three parties want to make a constitution as they wish?” asked Jitendra Dev, the MJF-L general secretary.
The move comes as a morale booster for the ongoing struggle of the disgruntled Tarai forces, especially Tharu communities demanding a Tharuhat/Tharuwan state.
Gachhadar, who had signed the previous six-state model with some reservations, was under increasing pressure to join the opposition camp. The party has 14 CA members.
A coalition of Tharu groups has been enforcing a strike after the six-state deal was signed. The agitating Tharu communities have demanded a Tharuhat province that incorporates Tarai districts west of Chitwan. They have also demanded a Kochila state comprising Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Udaypur, Mahottari and Sihara in eastern Nepal.
It is immediately not clear whether Gachhadar will join the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha or choose to lead a separate struggle together with some Tharu groups. “The party will decide its future roadmap after holding an internal meeting,” said Dev.