Advantage BJP as Nepal is ready to make space for Madeshis

Communities living in the Terai, especially the Madeshis and the Tharu have as ethnic minorities, express concern that the proposed boundaries

GN Bureau | October 8, 2015


#BJP   #Nepal   #Madeshis   #Nepal Constitution   #Parliament Secretariat   #Kathmandu  

Nepal today registered ‘first amendment bill’ of the Constitution at Parliament Secretariat, which seeks to address the two major demands of Madhesis and indigenous communities.

Will this mean advantage BJP in Bihar elections?  Communities living in the Terai, especially the Madeshis and the Tharu ethnic minorities, have expressed concern that the proposed boundaries of the new provinces could lead to their political marginalisation. The two groups make up nearly 40% of Nepal's population and the Madeshis share close ethnic ties with people in India.

The role of these communities is very crucial in Bihar’s border areas as the state goes to polls (first phase voting on Oct 12).

The amendment bill seeks to address proportional inclusion and make population the basis for delineating the electoral constituencies, the two major demands of Madhesis and indigenous communities.

The protesters have been demanding that the boundaries of federal units be determined to make two separate provinces by covering the entire Tarai-Madhes region. However, the amendment bill does not include the issue of boundary.

The three major parties of Nepal, Congress, CPN-UML and Unified CPN-Maoist, say that the issue can be addressed through a federal commission, to be formed as per the provision of the new Constitution that will make recommendations on it within one year.

Minister for Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs Narahari Acharya said that the amendment bill was registered as per Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala's commitment made in the CA on September 13.

The bill seeks amendment to five provisions of Articles 42, 84 and 286 to address the two issues. On Tuesday, the meeting between Nepal's three major parties and UDMF had ended inconclusively as the latter demanded concrete agenda on various issues for talks. The Madhesis and other communities in Nepal have been saying that the new constitution does not give them equal rights.

Nepal's adoption of a new federal constitution has led to a souring of ties with its giant neighbour India. The document defines the majority Hindu nation as a secular republic divided into seven federal provinces.

Although Delhi was one of the major backers of the process over the past decade, it believes the new constitution is not broad-based and is concerned that it could spur violence which could spill over into its own territory.

Just a couple of days before the constitution was formally adopted, foreign secretary S Jaishankar held discussions with Nepal's president and prime minister and leaders of all the major political parties including those who had opposed the constitution in its current form.

He is believed to have pressed the Nepalese government to delay the adoption of the constitution and hold discussions with political groups opposed to it.

Reports in the Indian media say that India's ambassador in Kathmandu spoke to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala hours before Sunday's constitution ceremony to express Delhi's disappointment at the process going through.

And hours after the constitution was formally adopted, the Indian foreign ministry put out a terse statement only "noting" that it had taken place.

The constitution document defines the majority Hindu nation as a secular republic divided into seven federal provinces.

Although Delhi was one of the major backers of the process over the past decade, it believes the new constitution is not broad-based and is concerned that it could spur violence which could spill over into its own territory.

Communities living in the Terai, especially the Madeshis and the Tharu ethnic minorities, have expressed concern that the proposed boundarie of the new provinces could lead to their political marginalisation.

The two groups make up nearly 40% of Nepal's population and the Madeshis share close ethnic ties with people in India.

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