Free Press Journal

Sushma effect: Nepal’s Madhes parties agree to participate in polls


Kathmandu : In a major development, Madhes-based parties in Nepal have finally agreed to join the local polls slated for September 18 – after a meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here.

Besides taking part in the polls, the Madhes-based parties also agreed to present the constitution amendment proposal for voting in Parliament, irrespective of whether it is endorsed or not.

Earlier, the Madhes-based parties had been demanding amendment in the constitution and declared that they will not take part in elections until it approves the amendment.

The turnaround in the Madhes-based parties came after Sushma Swaraj held a joint meeting with top Madhesi leaders on Thursday evening on the sideline of the Bimstec Ministerial meeting and pushed them to take part in the elections for institutionalising the agenda of Madhes.

The Madhes-based leaders, during a meeting with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Friday, announced that they will take part in the upcoming local polls in Province no 2 and agreed to present the constitution amendment proposal for voting process.

“Our key demand was sorting out the constitution amendment proposal. Our meeting with the Prime Minister and ruling party leaders agreed to put the constitution amendment proposal in voting process,” Sharat Singh Bhandari, one of the Presidium of the newly-formed Rastriya Janata Party Nepal said. A two-third vote is required to approve the proposal, which has already been tabled in the House as a Bill.

The constitution amendment is a long-standing demand of the agitating Madhes-based parties who have been struggling for the last two years to make the constitution more inclusive, more Madhes-friendly and to ensure representation of Madhesis in various State entities according to their proportion in the population.

The Nepal government has already held two rounds of local polls in the rest of six Provinces and deferred the polls in Province no 2 which is Madhes-dominated.

“We will accept the rule of the game, if the constitution amendment fails,” said Bhandari when asked what if the proposal fails.