Splits and parties from Madhes, the Terai region in Nepal along the Indo-Nepal border, are almost synonymous in this Himalayan nation. This week, another Madhesi party witnessed a split.
Over a dozen leaders from Madhesi Peoples’ Rights Forum (Democratic), the second biggest party in the ruling Maoist-Madhesi government, resigned in the past few days.
Accusing chairman Bijay Kumar Gachchadar of being autocratic and making compromises on the Madhesi cause, this disgruntled lot sided with Sarat Singh Bhadari, an expelled leader who announced formation of another outfit this Monday.
With the fresh split, the number of parties from Madhes has risen to 18 from the original six that entered Nepal’s first Constituent Assembly after a historic election in 2008.
It was the fourth split in Madhesi Peoples’ Rights Forum, the party that won 53 seats, riding the wave of the Madhesi movement seeking self-determination and equal rights for people from the Terai plains.
The Madhes movement was the outcome of suppressed resentment of people of the region, who comprise half of Nepal’s population, against ‘pahadis’ from the hill districts.
Irked at being denied their rights in jobs, politics and their loyalty to the nation questioned due to geographical, cultural and social closeness to India, people from the region were seeking their rightful share.
And in the 2008 elections, parties from Madhes who promised to fight for this cause cornered a sizeable chunk of seats in the 601-member CA, making them the fourth largest group after Maoists, Nepali Congress and CPN (UML).
But in the ensuing four years, due to their inability to rise above class and caste differences or individual ambitions, leaders from these parties dumped the Madhes cause and got busy forming more parties.
Unless these leaders get their acts together, the cause could get lost. And if they fail, the same masses that elected them could soon show them the door.