Madhes-based political parties did not welcome the constitution promulgated on 20 September, 2015. When the entire country was rejoicing over the promulgation of the first constitution of the Republic of Nepal, people in Madhes protested it by announcing blackout. The reason was - ‘Madhes voice’ was not addressed by the constitution. Differences regarding citizenship provisions, provinces and representation issues, among others, were cited as the reasons behind the dissatisfaction. With the government still struggling to take Madhes based parties in confidence, the constitution has not been implemented yet.
Civil society and political leaders in Madhes state that Madhes is equally worried about the political deadlock and want to see the country moving further. But for that to happen the first thing to be done is to address demands raised in Madhes, they say.
His five decade long experience in Madhes and mainstream politics makes Khushilal Mandal to believe that there is no option other than seriously addressing Madhes issues before holding the elections. Only after the dissatisfactions are responded to, the country can move further, including holding elections, he said. “If anyone thinks that the local election could be an option for now, that’s wrong. Without understanding Madhes and without feeling the pulse here, hammering the nail won’t help in delivering the objectives,” he said adding that the local election will not bridge the gap but trigger further conflict if the government goes for election without addressing the concerns of Madhes. “We all are in favor of ending the deadlock. But that cannot happen until the disgruntled voice of a huge community is heard and responded to.”
Mandal welcomed the recent constitution amendment initiative as a positive sign but warned that the amendment must be endorsed and owned by all political parties. “We must strive for a constitution that could be owned by all so that the conflict is resolved,” he said. He shared that talk of local elections do not sound realistic in the present scenario. “Officers at the election commission are saying that the election cannot be held in Baishakh. Madhes based parties are also not in its favor. In such an atmosphere, would there be any meaning of holding elections?”
Suresh Yadav/ Mithilesh Yadav/ Jitendra Jha