July 23, 2019 05:30 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, July 23: Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) and ethnic parties have agreed in principle to launch a nationwide movement to 'foil attempts to curtail the rights of disadvantaged groups guaranteed by the constitution'.
RJPN leaders said they are in the final rounds of discussion with at least six parties including the Tarai Tharuhat Party led by Bhanu Ram Tharu, Limbuwan Party of Kumar Lingden, Adivasi Janajati Party of Buddharaj Syangtan to finalize the agenda of the protest movement. Interlocutors say the parties expect other like-minded parties to join them once their protest gains momentum.
None of the six parties has representation in the federal and provincial parliaments.
The proposed alliance, the first such coalition forged between Madhesi and Janajati forces since the elections, plans to focus its struggle against 'deliberate attacks on reservation or quota system'.
The Public Service Commission is under fire after it axed nearly 1,800 seats meant for disadvantaged groups going against the constitutional provision of 45 percent reservation for them in all state bodies. This has generated a strong reaction from the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, the umbrella organization of ethnic communities, Madhesis, Dalits, Muslims and other groups.
RJPN leaders said that the alliance's ultimate goal was to amend the constitution addressing concerns of ethnic communities.
“A strong alliance has been essential to defend the rights, while continuing struggle for amending the constitution,'' said Rajendra Mahato, a leader of the alliance. He said that they are in talks with other like-minded groups to include them in the alliance.
Revival of the identity movement has been the main focus of Madhesi and Janajati parties since their agendas were pushed to corner after promulgation of the new constitution in 2015.
Samajbadi Party Nepal formed after a merger between the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal and Naya Shakti Party, is also making similar efforts to form an alliance to push for constitution amendment.