MJF-L decides to pull out of charter process

- ROSHAN SEDHAI, Kathmandu

Sep 6, 2015-

Bijay Kumar Gachhadar-led Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik (MJF-L), which is also a signatory of 16-point agreement, has announced its disassociation from the constitution drafting process.

The announcement came after three major parties decided to register a joint proposal to amend draft constitution on Saturday, the final deadline, without addressing concerns of agitating groups, including Tharus. The MJF-L is the only Madhes-based party that had so far taken ownership of the new statute.

MJF-L leaders said the party will not take part in any activities related to the constitution writing process now onwards. With the announcement, Madhesi communities have been further distanced from the constitution writing process.  “We cannot own this constitution any more as it has failed to address concerns of the Tharu, Madhesi, Dalit, Muslim and other marginalised communities,” said MJF-L General Secretary Ram Janam Chaudhary.

MJF-L leaders said they will push their agendas through the street. The party, however, has no immediate plan to resign from the Constituent Assembly.

MJF-L Chairman Gachhadar on Wednesday had given September 5 deadline for major parties to revise the federal set-up as per the 16-point understanding reached among Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist) and MJF-L to divide the country into eight provinces.

Gachhadar had requested the top leaders of major parties to address concerns of at least the Tharu community in the west.

“He had asked major parties to wait till Sunday for discussions on pressing demands of disgruntled groups, mainly the Tharus in the west. That could not happen,” a leader said.

Though three parties decided to settle disputes over province demarcation through the proposed Federal Commission and form Tharu, Muslim and Janajati Commissions, MJF-L leaders said it does not adequately meet the aspirations of people expressed through the ongoing protests.

“Our demand is for a separate Tharuhat state. People will not accept this seven-state model,” said Janak Raj Chaudhary, a MJF-L lawmaker from Kailali.

He said major parties’ decision has further irked Madhesi parties and that they will bring major parties to their knees through decisive protests in Tarai.

The MJF-L has also decided to intensify protests in collaboration with other likeminded forces. Last week, Gachhadar formed a new Madhesi alliance with the Raj Kishore Yadav-led Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Republican and Sarad Singh Bhandari-led National Madhesh Socialist Party.

Most Madhesi parties have stood for two provinces in Tarai. MJF-L leadership had even shown readiness to own up the seven-province model if major parties agreed to form two provinces in Tarai, keeping Kanchanpur, Chitwan and Jhapa in the hill provinces. Sources said Gachhadar was even ready to show flexibility in Kailali.

Outcome of three-party meeting

  • New deal fails to address the ongoing protests of Madhesis and Tharus
  • Federal commission to address concerns of Madhesis, Tharus and Janajatis
  • Secularism to be retained
  • No threshold provisions in elections
  • Constitutional Bench at Supreme Court instead of Constitutional Court
  • To form Janajati, Muslim, Madhesi and Tharu constitutional commission
  • No reappointment of heads of constitutional bodies after constitution promulgation

Published: 06-09-2015 07:31

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