Tharus, Muslims to be separated from Madhesi clusterRepresentation under the “Madhesi” category could be reduced in the federal parliament as the proposed bill on the Election to the House of Representatives seeks to separate the Tharu and Muslim communities from the group.
Prithvi Man Shrestha
Representation under the “Madhesi” category could be reduced in the federal parliament as the proposed bill on the Election to the House of Representatives seeks to separate the Tharu and Muslim communities from the group.
The Madhesi community will get reservation for 20.9 percent representation under the proportional system, down from 31.9 percent in the Constituent Assembly elections when Madhesis, Tharus and Muslims were clubbed under a single category.
According to the latest census, the Tharus account for 6.6 percent of the country’s population while the Muslims make 4.4 percent of it. This means the Madhesi group will be smaller by 11 percent.
The census had categorised Tharus as Madhesis/Tarai Janajatis along with 11 other ethnic groups living in the plains.
The bill has been forwarded to the Home Ministry. The EC will move towards holding the elections for provincial and federal parliaments after the local elections are over.
“We prepared the bill creating separate clusters for Tharus and Muslims in line with the new constitution,” said a senior EC official.
The new constitution says the representation will be ensured on the basis of a closed list of candidates comprising women, Dalits, indigenous peoples, Khas-Aryas, Madhesis, Tharus, Muslims and backward region residents, on the basis of population.
A federal law should ensure such representation while allocating seats under the proportional electoral system in the House of Representatives, according to the constitution.
The Interim Constitution (2007) had a provision that political parties should ensure proportional representation of women, Dalits, oppressed communities/indigenous
peoples, backward region residents, Madhesis, Tharus and Muslims.
“The new constitution is more progressive for the Muslim community as it has given them a distinct identity,” said Farmullah Mansoor, a lawmaker from the Nepali Congress. “This is expected to ensure higher representation of Muslims in Parliament.”
Upendra Yadav, chairman of the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal, however, suspects it to be a “divide and rule” strategy of the country’s establishment. He says “all the people who live in Madhes are Madhesis”.