Litmus test For Madhesi parties (Editorial)

 Contrary to the ubiquitous misperceptions, the people and political parties demonstrated their great enthusiasm for the local level polls in Province No 2 slated for September 18. The number of nominations and participation of voters during candidacy registration speak volumes about their aspirations for the meaningful role in the democratic process. The province endured senseless agitations in the aftermath of the promulgation of new constitution. This had given bad impression that the Terai heartland was not ready for the election that holds the key to settling the substantive political and constitutional questions. The Madhes-based parties had dug their heels in for long time and refused to join the electoral fray until their demands were met. They finally woke up to their political miscalculation and agreed to take part in the election by accepting the outcome of voting on the controversial statute amendment Bill in the parliament.
With the candidates busy canvassing the voters, several interesting scenarios have come to light. The ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre had announced to forge mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) against the opposition CPN-UML by bringing other parties, including the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal to their fold. But the attempts to create electoral alliance and polarisation between the parties went up in smoke owing to several factors. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Maoist Centre chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda have been determined to back the UML into a corner so that it would not maintain its winning streak in the third phase of local polls.

Seemingly, Deuba and Prachanda are wary of UML’s nationalistic wave having a sway across the country. In UML, they found their common enemy after it emerged the largest force from the first and second phase of the local election.
The RJP-N’s singeing attack on the three major parties is intended to vilify them in Madhes. However, this sort of skewed political comment has some indirect benefit to the UML that was singled out as anti-Madhesi force by the NC, MC and the Madhes-based parties. The RJP-N’s virulent posture has dealt a blow to its possible alignment with the NC and MC. These three forces were supposed to build a broader alliance to roll over the UML in the Terai. With animosity engulfing them, the UML can safely mobilise its voters to garner more votes during the election. Moreover, the election is a litmus test for the RJP-N and other Madhesi parties that have been treating Madhes as if it were their fiefdom.


Published Date : 11 September, 2017 Monday. 

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