Madhesi, Janjati lawmakers unite for identity-based federalism
KATHMANDU, May 11: Following the decision by the major parties to resolve the contentious issues of constitution writing through voting in the Constituent Assembly, a group of lawmakers from the Madhesi parties and the Janajati caucus reached a formal understanding Thursday to stand united to press for identity-based federalism for each of the major ethnic groups.
While signing the four-point understanding, they said federal provinces should be determined on the basis of the reports prepared by majority members of the State Restructuring Commission (SRC) and the Constituent Assembly´s thematic committee on state restructuring. Both the reports say the country should be federalized on the basis of single ethnic identity.
Maoist lawmakers Barshaman Pun, Dev Gurung, Madhesi lawmaker Bijaya Kumar Gachachhadar, Rajendra Mahato, Anil Jha, Mahendra Yadav and Hridayesh Tripathi, CPN-UML lawmakers Prtihvi Subba Gurung and Kiran Gurung are some of those who signed the understanding.
They have decided to ask the CA chairman to initiate the process of voting on the unresolved issues as per the CA regulations.
According to Vice-chairman of Sadbhawana Party Laxmanlal Karna, the meeting also formed a four-member taskforce to oversee the questionnaire to be prepared for voting. The taskforce comprises lawmakers Karna, Gurung, Bishwendra Paswan and Rukmini Chaudhari.
“The taskforce has been entrusted with the responsibility of making suggestion and holding discussion on the questionnaire,” Karna told Republica.
CPN-UML lawmaker Dal Bahadur Rana said they would exert pressure on major political parties to address the concerns of the indigenous nationalities, Madhesis, minorities and other groups in the new constitution.
“On the one hand the leaders [from major political parties] are afraid of the possibility of floor-crossing by their lawmakers during the voting and on the other hand they have failed to resolve the thorny issues through consensus,” said Rana, adding, “So, we all decided to exert pressure to address our minimum demand, formation of federal provinces based on single identity, in the new constitution.”
In a separate context, the meeting expressed concerns over the burning down of a Tharu museum during a recent stir in the western Tarai region and urged all agitating groups to maintain restraint for communal harmony.
MPRF-D Chairman Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar, Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party Vice-chairman Hridayash Tripathi, MPRF-R Acting Chairman Rajkishor Yadav, UCPN (Maoist) leaders Gurung and Barshaman Pun, CPN-UML lawmaker Prithvi Subba Gurung, Nepali Congress lawmakers Jip Tshering Lama Sherpa and independent lawmaker Sadrul Miyan Haq among other lawmakers were present at the meeting.
Meanwhile, the Broader Madhesi Front (BMF), a cross-party alliance of Madhesi lawmakers, has formed a seven-member sub-committee to hold talks with lawmakers from indigenous, Muslim, Dalit and other backward communities in order to forge common stance during the CA voting on the contentious issues of the new constitution.