Identity based federalism still a conundrum for Nepal’s parties

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s major political parties have shown no sign of agreement on the most disputed issue of identity based federalism.

The erstwhile Constituent Assembly had dissolved after these same political parties confronted each other on the issue. While the UCPN Maoist and Madesh based parties had routed for single identity based federalism, Nepali Congress and CPN UML had confronted it earlier.

With the second edition of CA election on the doorstep, these two factions stick to their stance in their recently published election manifesto.

Possibility of the upcoming CA to draft the constitution within a year of the CA election, as promised by all of these parties, for now seems to be another conundrum.

In its manifesto the UCPN Maoist has proposed a 11 province federal model that include eight ethnic states, three on geographical basis. It has also proposed autonomous region, protected region and special region within these 11 states.

Madhesh based parties have stuck to have a madhesh pradesh. Though these parties are divided on the number of pradesh– some have proposed two and some only one — they are unison on demanding Madhesh pradesh. They have backed UCPN Maoist proposed 11 state model and are flexible on the number of states to be proposed in the hilly and mountain region.
On the other hand, NC and UML have proposed seven state model with multiple identities. Both of them have proposed that the states will have the right to choose their name. congress has strongly advocated for pluralism, equitable development, and justifiable distribution of state resources and power as the basis of these federal units. It argues that such provisions will strengthen democracy and harmony.
CPN UML also has similar stance on the issues and has even accused the UCPN Maoist of misleading the marginalized and oppressed communities by selling the dream of single identity-state federalism.