Madhesis reject new Nepal constitution amendment bill, to boycott local polls
Shirish B Pradhan, KATHMANDU: Nepal’s agitating Madhesi parties on Wednesday decided to boycott next month’s local elections and hold fresh protests, saying the content of the new Constitution amendment bill tabled in Parliament was different from what was agreed with the government.
The United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) leaders, in a meeting held in Kathmandu, claimed that the new proposal has not addressed their key demand—revision of provincial boundary. They decided to boycott the local-level polls slated for 14 May and announced fresh protests, saying the new proposal has failed to address their demands.
The leaders said they would not take ownership of the amendment proposal which the government registered at the Parliament Secretariat on Tuesday. No provisions pertaining to citizenship, national assembly and language have been changed in the old proposal, according to the agitating UDMF.
Terai Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) leader Surendra Jha rejected the government’s claim that the new proposal was brought in by taking the Madhesi Front into confidence. He said the content in the proposal was different than what was agreed during the joint meeting between the representatives of ruling parties and Front leaders.
Meanwhile, Nepali Congress senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel said the new Constitution amendment proposal registered at the Parliament is aimed at addressing the concerns raised by the Madhesi people.
Talking to journalists in Palpa in western Nepal, Poudel said the proposal has been registered to facilitate the people of Madhes to take part in the upcoming local-level election and to honour the sentiments of the Madhes-based parties.
He slammed the leaders of Madhes-based parties for distorting facts, saying the Nepali Congress Party has always favoured for the inclusion, citizenship rights, development and welfare of the Madhesi people. The Madhesi parties, which are demanding more representation and re-demarcation of state boundaries, are opposing the local body elections.
Madhesis, mostly of Indian-origin, launched a prolonged agitation between September 2015 and February last year against the implementation of the new Constitution which they felt marginalised the Terai community. The protest had resulted in the death of at least 50 people. (PTI)