KATHMANDU, Nov 26: The government has made preparations for the constitution amendment to address the demands of the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF).
The demarcation of the provinces is the thorniest issue among the four demands being raised by the UDMF.
Madhesi parties had staged strikes and bands for almost six months after the constitution was promulgated diving Nepal into seven provinces. The southern neighbor also imposed blockade on Nepal for six months on the pretext of Madhes agitation.
The Madhesi Morcha had backed down from its One Madhes One Province demand following the Tharu protest and started raising its voice for two provinces in the Tarai belt.
Since then, the Madhesi Morcha has been demanding that Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari be included in Province Number 2.
Quite recently, the government has floated a proposal to split Province Number 5, drawing flacks from all quarters.
“The amendment in the constitution had been made in the past, too, but this could not be implemented after India did not accept it. This time the preparations are underway to bring an amendment proposal to suit the interest of the agitating parties and the southern neighbor,” said a political leader requesting anonymity.
The main opposition party CPN-UML has been offended after the government forwarded the proposal to take away five districts from Province Number 5.
To please the Madhesi Front and India Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is preparing to split hilly districts from province Number 5, said sources.
Province Number 5 will have areas stretching from Nawalpur of Nawalparasi district to the western part of Bardiya. The fragmented districts would be merged in Province Number 4 and 6.
If this proposal gets endorsed, the remaining districts would be detached from hilly region.
Sources claimed that preparations are underway to amend constitution as per the demand of India.
UDMF has put forth their demand that Province Number 2 should stretch from Jhapa in the east to Chitwan in the west.
Similarly, their demands include a Tharu provinces stretching from Nawalparasi in the east to Kanchanpur in the west.
As per the current demarcation of the provinces, Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari are kept in Province Number 1 and Kailali and Kanchanpur in Province Number 7.
UDMF is still adamant that Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Udayapur, Sindhuli, Makwanpur along with inner Madhes including some parts of Chitwan should be made a single province.
Meanwhile, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and Nepali Congress (NC) leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula are not positive in merging Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari in Madhes province in any condition.
Especially, Chairman of Federal Socialist Forum Nepal Upendra Yadav is for mixing three eastern districts in Madhes province.
Morang and Sunsari are the electoral regions for Yadav.
A UDMF leader said that other leaders except Yadav don’t have interest in Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari.
Oli and Sitaula are against the merging the three districts Province Number 2 which they believe will lead their political future in disarray.
Other demands of UDMF are to make a Tharu Province including the districts from Nawalparasi to Kanchanpur.
NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN-UML Vice-chairman Bhim Rawal, Ramesh Lekhak among others are against including Kailali and Kanchanpur in the Tharu Province as it is their electoral region.
According to sources, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is trying his best to appease UDMF and make India happy by separating the hilly districts with the Tarai districts of Province Number 5 after Oli disagreed to the proposal on Province Number 1 and Deuba was stubborn on not letting to include Kailali and Kanchanpur in the Tharu Province.
According to Dahal’s offer, Nawalpur of Nawalparasi to eastern Bardiya will be included in Province Number 5 and the hilly districts in the province will be merged in Province Number 4 and 6.