"President does not need fresh mandate"

Rajendra Mahato, leader of Sadbhavana Party, is a very prominent Madhesh leader. Although he lost the Constituent Assembly elections, he still wields influence in the Terai as his party is still one of the largest parties of Madhesh. Mahato spoke to

Dec. 27, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -13 Dec. 27- 2013 (Poush 12, 2070)

How do you look at the present political situation in the context that Madheshi parties have been virtually wiped out from their own region?

Yes, we have lost the elections. However, the Madhesh has not. Only one reason behind our defeat is the fraud in the elections as well as the division among Madheshi parties. Had we been united to contest the elections as in the past, we would perform well. Madheshi parties have secured more votes than the last time.

How do you evaluate the overall political scenario?

After reviving the High Level Political Committee, political leaders have been able to avert the political crisis looming large just after the completion of the CA election. The situation is still uncertain, nobody can predict the upcoming scenario. Although they were hesitant earlier, CPN-UML and Nepali Congress agreed to our demands to constitute the high level commission to probe the elections fraud. This is a good sign.

What do you see as the reason behind your defeat?

Disunity among Madhesh parties is the reason behind my defeat. Another reason is the massive election fraud in Madhesh to defeat our candidates. The state machinery openly supported Nepali Congress and CPN-UML candidates.

Do you mean people in Madhesh still prefer Madheshi parties?

There is no doubt about that. Given such a massive mobilization of government machinery against us and our deep split, it was impossible for us to retain our positions.

As you have lost the elections, what will you do now?

Of course, I have lost the elections, but I have not lost the cause of Madheshi people. It does not make any difference for me whether I lose elections or not. My aim is to serve the interest of the people.

Do you think the present Constituent Assembly will write the new constitution?

It is very difficult to say right now. As the country’s major political parties have recently expressed their commitments, the CA will promulgate the new constitution.

How do you see the recent decision of CPN-UML to seek fresh election for president?

It is a sheer non-sense of CPN-UML. We will oppose any such demand. Since we fought the elections for Constituent Assembly to draft the new constitution, we must focus on constitution writing.  We contested the elections for CA, not for parliament.

Then why did the CPN-UML seek the resignation?

It is CPN-UML’s ploy to pull down a Madheshi leader from top position of the country. This is also a politically very immature move. Political parties right now need a compromise to draft the new constitution in time. This kind of debate only derails the political process.

If Nepali Congress asks you to join the government, what would be your position?

We have not decided anything like that. Given the present political stalemate, we prefer to be in the opposition and work for the cause of the Madheshi people.

How do you see the possibility of convening the CA meeting?

As all political parties have expressed their commitment to Republican, Federal and Secular setup, I don’t think there is any possibility to drift away from these.   

How do you visualize the future political scenario?

There is no way other than forging consensus and compromise. Although Nepali Congress and CPN-UML secured a large number of seats in the CA, this does not mean that they are in a position to discard the achievements made in Janandolan II and Madhesh Andolan.

How do you see the possibility of one Madhesh one Pradesh?

This is the demand of Madhesh Andolan as many Madheshis have sacrificed their lives for the cause of one Madhesh. If the coming constitution does not accept it, we will burn that constitution. The new constitution must guarantee equal rights of Madheshi people by providing them a single Madhesh.

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