Morcha to mark Constitution Day as ‘black day’

Political experts in the districts say the Morcha reached a deal with the governing parties as a ‘face-saving’ move

Sep 18, 2016-The government has announced that September 19 (Ashwin 3) will be observed as Constitution Day, as the day marks one year of promulgation of the constitution. But the Sanghiya Gathabandhan, an alliance of the Madhesi and Janajati forces, has decided to observe it as “black day” in Madhes.

The Gathabandhan comprises seven Madhes-based parties, which collectively are known as the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, and various Janajati forces.

The Morcha has long been protesting against the constitution, saying that the charter was pushed through and that it “marginalises various sections of society”. 

Months-long protest launched by the Morcha in the Tarai following the constitution promulgation had resulted in scores of deaths. 

The Morcha has been demanding that the constitution be amended to address the concerns raised by the Madhesi and Janajati groups. 

Issues related to citizenship, provincial boundaries, representation in the Upper House are some of the demands of the Morcha and the Gathabandhan. 

The Morcha in July decided to support the CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress (NC) to form a new government by toppling the KP Sharma Oli regime. A new dispensation was installed in Kathmandu in August with a promise that it would address Morcha’s concerns by amending the constitution. 

Political experts here, however, say Morcha’s demands “will never be met”. 

Leaders of the Madhesi Morcha and Sanghiya Gathabandhan have forged agreements with the NC and the Maoist Centre for “face saving”; their demands will never get addressed, they say. 

Amid all this, a Morcha leader said “we don’t know what is happening” behind the scenes. “Madhesi people are waiting for results, their leaders have achieved nothing so far,” he said. 

Madhesi leaders also said that they “are still doubt” the Maoist-NC government would address the demands of Madhesi people. 

Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party General Secretary of Jeetendra Sonal said parties have used Madhesi issues to get to power. “The new constitution will remain incomplete unless the demands of Madhesi people are addressed. The government so far has not shown any urgency to address the demands,” said Sonal. 

Experts on the other hand say the constitution will not be amended until the ruling, opposition and protesting parties come together and make positive moves for the amendment. 

“Though Madhesi parties were hopeful that the Puspha Kamal Dahal-led government would address Madhesi issues in the initial days, they seem disappointed now as nothing has happened even 45 days after Dahal took office,” said Prof Surendra Labh of Janakpur RR Campus. 

All political parties and stakeholders have already understood that they have to address the demands of Madhesi parties to implement the constitution. 

According to Binda Sahani, a political expert in Rautahat, constitution amendment is being done at the behest of foreign forces. “The leaders should have a feeling of nationality. Otherwise, country will be pushed into crisis,” said Sahani. 

The agitating Madhesi leaders had sat 36 times for dialogue with the erstwhile Oli-led government, but no remarkable progress was made. Ram Kumar Yadav of Rupandehi said they had protested for their identity and proportional rights after the promulgation of new constitution. “We have got nothing from the Madhes protest,” said Yadav. 

Published: 18-09-2016 07:56

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