Nepal’s Madhesi parties have warned the government that they would disrupt the May 14 locals election if their demands, including proportional representation in Parliament, are not addressed. The Federal Alliance, a grouping of seven Madhesi and ethnic parties, said they would hold a fresh round of protests from tomorrow across the country. The alliance said their protests would include sit-ins, rallies and general strikes. Alliance coordinator and chairman of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Upendra Yadav said yesterday the government did not consult them before tabling the Constitution amendment proposal in the Parliament.
The government, however, claimed the amendment was tabled to address the demands of Madhesis relating to the proportional representation and the redrawing of federal boundaries. Yadav said the government did not table the amendment proposal which it had showed them. But, Prime Minister Prachanda, according to party sources, has told ruling CPN (Maoist-Centre) leaders that the alliance has tricked him. Yadav claimed that the amendment proposal the government tabled in the parliament did not propose to bring the local federal units under the provinces.
He warned the government it would not be able to hold the polls on May 14, if they do not include their demands. The Madhesi parties, who claim to represent the interests of inhabitants of the southern Terai region who are mostly of Indian origin, demand that the Constitution promulgated in 2015 be amended to revise the provisions of citizenship and re-demarcation of the provincial boundary before going to the May polls. Om Gurung, the alliance spokesman, said their other concern relate to what he termed was the discriminatory structure of the National Assembly – the upper House of the parliament.
The protest programmes include torch rallies in the district headquarters tomorrow, ‘lathi’ and whistle rallies on Thursday; and mass meetings in Janakpur, Udaypur, Birgunj and Kavre on Saturday, a weekly public holiday in Nepal. They also announced shutdowns on April 28 in the Tarai, Tharuhat and the East and a nationwide shutdown on April 29. The indefinite general strike is said to begin on May 10.