"Concern Has To Be Constitution"

As the process of unification of Madhesh-based parties is going on, President of Sadbhavana Party RAJENDRA MAHATO spoke to New Spotlight. Excerpts:

July 13, 2014, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 08 No. -3 July. 11- 2014 (Ashar 27, 2071)

How do you look at the recent decision of Nepali Congress to request Rs.50 million for each MP in the Constituent Assembly?

The amount demanded by Nepali Congress is huge. Our party wants some sort of funds for MP’s to distribute for development. However, our party is not in a favor of giving additional physical benefits to CA members. However, my view is that the role of the present Constituent Assembly is to draft the new constitution and promulgate the new democratic, federal and republic constitution by January 2014. Thus, CA members must concentrate on this direction. 

How do you assess the current political trend?

One of the foremost things now is to promulgate the new constitution. As per the promise by us, Nepal’s political parties have to promulgate the new constitution at any time. This is the mandate of the Constituent Assembly.

Do you see the CA is moving towards that direction?

If we believe in the statement of leaders of major political parties, we can draw the conclusion that the new constitution will be promulgated in time. Political leaders have been saying that they will promulgate the new constitution by February 2014. I am giving them the benefit of doubt.

There are so many disputed issues, including state restructuring, particularly the issue of federalism. How do you look at these?

Of course, there are many thorny issues including federalism. Given the mandate by the people to the two major political parties Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, they have to decide now. If they work sincerely, nothing is impossible.  Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have to settle the issues on state restructuring. They must carve out a federal constitution.

How will your party react in case these parties promulgate the new constitution without carving out federal provinces?

It is unacceptable for us. We will burn the constitution which opposes the spirit of Madhesh and Janandolan II. One of the mandates of Madesh Andolan is federal structures and one Madhesh and one Pradesh.  There is no question to compromise on one Madhesh and one Pradesh. This is our bottom-line.

Do you mean your party will stick to one Madhesh and one Pradesh?

There can be a negotiated settlement on the number of provinces in the terai and hills. So far as federalism is concerned, there is no compromise on it. We also oppose any move to carve the provinces linking Madehsh with Himal. We want provinces on our own geographical areas. The traditional pattern of north south divide is unacceptable.

How are things moving on the unity front of Madhesh based parties?

There is no alternative other than unity among major political parties. I have already made it clear that I am ready to sacrifice everything, including my position, for the unity of major Madhesh based parties. In the first stage, we are now making efforts to unite three parties, namely, Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party, Sadbhvana Party and Madheshi Janadhikar Forum –Nepal. If these three parties agree to unite, there will be a significant change in the politics of Madhesh and the current Constituent Assembly.

Do you think such unity is possible?

There is the need to have some sort of sacrifice from different political leaders.

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