Grand alliance to revitalise protestsThe Madhes-based parties protesting under different banners have, in principle, agreed to form a joint alliance to intensify their agitation that appears to be losing steam following the first amendment to the new constitution.
The Madhes-based parties protesting under different banners have, in principle, agreed to form a joint alliance to intensify their agitation that appears to be losing steam following the first amendment to the new constitution.Leaders from the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha and the Sanghiya Samabesi Madhesi Gathabandhan (SSMG), two rival fronts leading separate protests in the plains for over the past five months, said they are inching closer to forming “a grand alliance” by taking other fringe parties on board.
Both the Madhesi fronts have reached an understanding to finalise the remaining tasks of forming the alliance after internal deliberations in their respective fronts.
There are two schools of thought behind the grand alliance idea. Analysts say that some Madhesi leaders are worried about the weakening protests and that they see a larger alliance as a way to revitalise the movement. Others feel that the current form of disruptive protests on the border has made it difficult for them to maintain a moral high ground. So they see a “grand alliance” as an opportunity to also change the style of agitation.A group of SSMG leaders on Saturday formally proposed with Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur to form a joint alliance after receiving positive response from other SLMM top guns.Thakur, who returned to Kathmandu after health check-ups in New Delhi last Thursday, had given a green signal for the alliance. Thakur said that the Morcha’s next meeting would reach a concrete decision on the matter.
“There has been an understanding to launch joint protests at one level. Bhandari Ji [Sarat Singh Bhandari] was saying that they would take a concrete decision towards that end in their ongoing meeting. Morcha would also take a formal decision on the nitty-gritty of the alliance in the next meeting,” Thakur told the Post. Top SLMM leaders are likely to meet later this week though no date has been fixed so far.Constituents of the Tarai Madhes Rastriya Abhiyan (TMRA) are planning to make an official decision about the alliance through a joint meeting that started in Birgunj on Sunday.
The SSMG includes the JP Gupta-led Tarai Madhes Rastriya Abhiyan, the Bhandari-led Rastriya Madhes Samajbadi Party, the Anil Jha-led Sanghiya Sadbhawana Party and the Raj Kishore Yadav-led Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Ganatantrik (MJF-G). The last three parties have a total of five seats in Parliament.
Keshav Jha of the Rastriya Madhes Samajbadi Party said that both the sides have realised the need for a joint alliance to sustain the Madhes movement. He said that the proposed unity of the regional forces would help garner public support and take the agitation to a new height.
Leaders of the SLMM allies including Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal (SSFN), Sadbhawana Party and Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party (TMSP) have also agreed tentatively to the alliance formation.
SSFN Chairman Upendra Yadav, who had earlier opposed the proposal for the joint alliance, said the two sides are in discussion to sort out their differences.Despite having similarities in their goals and tactics, the SLMM and the TMRA have been leading separate protests to secure their political space.