Province 2 struggles to reach consensus on its name

Published On: March 7, 2018 05:00 AM NPT By: Suresh Yadav

JANAKPUR, Mar 7: Province 2 is preparing to hold its cabinet meeting on Friday to finalize the name of the province and fix its permanent capital among other issues. Although the date is near, parliamentarians of the province are yet to reach consensus on the name of the province.

Various political parties have proposed different names for the province and most of them are unwilling to compromise, setting an uncertain stage for the naming in the upcoming cabinet meeting. On the other hand, the province's capital as Janakpur has been unchallenged.  

According to Yogendra Raya of Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN), a member of Business Advisory Committee of the provincial assembly, his party is discussing naming the province as 'Madhes' and Janakpur as its permanent capital.

“There is no better capital for the province than Janakpur. And if the capital should be Janakpur, the province's name should be Madhes,” said Raya, who is also a provincial state minister for land management, agriculture and cooperative.

Jitendra Sonal, parliamentary party leader from Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN), also agreed on setting the province's name as 'Madhes'. 

“Although our party has not held formal discussions regarding the name of the province, I believe Madhes would be an agreeable name while its official language should be Hindi,” he said, adding that RJPN is yet to make a formal decision on this issue. 

However, the largest party CPN-UML disagrees with the proposals of the Madhesi parties which enjoy majority in the province. UML parliamentary leader in the provincial assembly Satya Narayan Mandal said that the name of the province should be Mithila and its capital Janakpur, and the official language Maithali. He is for retaining the capital's name as Janakpur, but suggested changing the location of the capital. According to Mandal, there is no possibility of expanding roads in Janakpur and therefore argued that the capital of the same name should be established by constructing new physical infrastructures somewhere between Mahendranagar and Dhalawar of Dhanusha.

Similarly, Nepal Congress parliamentary party leader in the provincial assembly Ram Saroj Yadav also expressed different opinion from FSFN and RJPN regarding all the issues except the provincial capital. Like UML, he is also in favor of naming the province as Mithila/Bhojpura and its language Maithali/Bhojpuri.

“Naming the province as Madhes is wrong because Madhes does not consist of only eight districts of the province. Therefore, it would be wise to name the province by respecting the feelings of the communities of both Mithila and Bhojpura areas,” said Yadav. “Likewise, both Mithila and Bhojpuri should be the province's official language in the provincial government as majority of the people speak either Mithila or Bhojpuri,” he added.

FSFN leader Raya argued that the provincial name should be inclusive and representative of the people of all ethnicity and language. “People of Bhojpura areas (Bara, Parsa) are against naming the province as Mithila. In this scenario, we can make Hindi the official language of the province and connect with every ethnic group,” he added.

Stakeholders have urged political parties to form consensus in the naming of the province just like they did in determining the capital. “The country got federal government after a long struggle. Let everyone respect the voice of the people and work on forming consensus on the remaining issues,” said Dr Bhogendra Jha, who was a member of the State Restructuring Committee during the first Constitution Assembly.

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