By Shirish B Pradhan
KATHMANDU: The Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, a key Madhesi party which has been demanding amendments to Nepal’s Constitution, has threatened to withdraw its support to Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli-led government.
The RJP-N leaders, who presented a memorandum to Prime Minister Oli on Monday, warned that if the government failed to address their demands, the party would withdraw its support to his government after Diwali.
RJP-N has asked the government to initiate the process of amendment to the Constitution to address the demands of Madhesi, Tharu, Muslims and Janajatis.
“This is our last warning and if the government turns its deaf ear, we will launch fresh agitation after the festivals by withdrawing support to the government,” said Rajendra Mahato, member of the Presidium of the RJP- N.
“The government is not listening to our demands and is also trying to avoid the amendments to the Constitution,” said Mahato, the former commerce minister.
The adoption of a new Constitution in 2015 that divided Nepal into seven provincial units and reportedly marginalised Madhesis, who are largely of Indian-origin and inhabitants of the Terai, had triggered a six-month-long agitation during Oli’s first tenure in which more than 50 people were killed.
The Madhesi party claims to represent the interests of inhabitants of the southern Terai region who are mostly of Indian origin.
The major demands of the RJP-N include amendment in the citizenship certificate distribution provision, providing more rights to the provincial governments, re-demarcation of the provincial boundary, withdrawal of cases registered against the party’s cadres and release of RJP-N lawmaker Resham Chaudhary who had not yet been administered the oath of office and secrecy.
Chaudhary has been charged with escalating violence in the Terai region during the Madhes agitation. He is in jail even after winning the last parliamentary elections.
A few security personnel were killed during the protests and the government has imprisoned Chaudhary for his alleged involvement in the incident.
The Communist party-led government currently enjoys two-thirds majority in the 275-member House of Representatives. However, if the key Madhesi party withdraws its support, the government will lose two-thirds majority support in the Parliament.