SHASHI KOIRALA (SUNSARI) : Madheshi political parties evolved as the fourth political force in Nepal following the Madhesh Andolan. The rise was followed by their up-roaring promises to get rights for the Madheshi community, which they claimed were denied. A popular sentiment among the Madheshi community to capitalize on. The Madheshi political parties, which were otherwise not so significant in Nepal’s politics, got substantial limelight and sweeping victories in Madheshi electoral constituencies of the erstwhile CA election. Some of these parties were Madheshi Janadhikar Forum Nepal, Tarai Madeshi Loktantrik Party, and Sadbhavana party.
However the scenario has changed, as it has for UCPN Maoist. This time around, these parties that rose to power through their rebellious talks and outstanding promises are facing hardship to face their voter banks. Old political parties — Nepali Congress and CPN UML — seem gaining back their lost popularity. The reversal in Madheshi parties’s is partly due to the bifurcation of the madhesh based parties into many small fringe parties and mostly it is due to their inability to actualize the “Madhesh Dream”– which they had distributed during the Madhesh Aandolan. Here is concise election scenario analysis for major Madheshi leaders– harbinger of the Madheshi revolution.
MJF-Nepal is now contending with its two split aways– MJF-Democratic and MJF-Republican; Sadbhavana Party is contending with its two break-away parties– Sanghiya Sadbhavana Party (SSP) and Tarai Madhesh Sadbhavana Party (TMSP) and TMLP is contending against its split-away TMLP Sadbhavana. Along with the division seen in these political parties, their inability to keep their pledges made during the erstwhile CA and their resort to power game are factors that is funneling public support to Nepali Congress and CPN UML- old players in the region.
Upendra Yadav had won the earlier CA elections in flying colors from Sunsari’s 5 and Morang’s 5 constituencies. But this time around the situation has reversed. He is competitng against MJF-R’s Dinesh Kumar Yadav, MJF-D’s Basantlal Rajbansi, Sadbhavana Party’s Badri Prasad Mandal, TMSP Ramanand Shah Syundi, and SSP’s Jagannath Rajbansi. While these Madheshi leaders, who earlier shared the same Madheshi sentiment will be depriving him of his vote bank, NC’s popular candidate Amrit Kumar Aryal, CPN UML’s Ramlal Shah and UCPN Maoist’s Baleshwor Kamat will give him hard time by claiming some of the vote bank.
Given the circumstances, Yadav will have to hold his breath unless the final voting count-down results come out. This time around there will be no land-slide victory for him certainly.
Back in Sunsari-5 constituency, that is home to Yadav, he has tough competition with CPN UML’s Jagdhish Kusiyat – an old hand in the constituency that is dominated by Muslims and Yadavs. Adding to his woes in the region, his former party comrade Nand Kumar Dutta is also competing against him from UCPN Maoist. Thirdly Nepali Congress is beating up Yadav’s candidacy through its muslim candidate Jameel Miya. Jameel along with UML’s Kaleem Ansari, TMLP’s Adbul Husain Ansari will will ensure that Yadav does not gets any of the muslim community votes.
A total of 39 political party candidates and 11 independent candidates are competing from this constituency and the worst of Yadav’s inability to provide any relief packages during the Koshi floods to the residents has been exploited by other candidates. The sentiment now fresh again will be another setback for Yadav to gain victory.
Bijay Kumar Gachhadar another senior leader in the Madheshi group of leaders is contending from Morang-7 and Sunsari-3. In Sunsari, his home district, he is facing tough competition with NC’s Shekhar Koirala. While MJF-N’s Mo Faiyaz Miya, MJF-R Jhakulal Biswas Tharu will slicing some of his Madheshi vote bank. Other major players in this constituency giving hard time to Gachhadar are UML’s Yashoha Adhikari, UCPN Maoist’s Gopal Chhetri, TMLP’s Raju Mandal Rajbanshi, SP’s Rajendra Prasad Gupta, TMSP’s Randhir Kumar Yadav, and SSP’s Sushila Rajbanshi. A total of 36 political party candidates and 4 independent candidates are competing in this constituency.
Sunsari-3 is a region where Gachhadar seems to have a bit confidence in testifying at the ballot box. But that confidence is briddling away as UML’s Bhagwati Chaudhari’s social-service fame is competing against his never-fulfilled plethora of political promises. Chaudhary has contributed to the development of the area through her NGO, Forward. Prior to this she has served as MP and state minister from UML and her service to the region, that focused on income generation activities, has gained substantial support of Tharu woman community. Adding to that his Muslim community vote bank is presently threatened by UCPN Maoist’s Haider Ali and NC’s Goma Kumari Parajuli Ansari. Chaudhary community votes will be also munched by RPP’s Chandan Kumar Chaudhary. And major claimers of the Madheshi voter bank in the area are Manesh Kumar Rauniya of TMLP, Dharmendra Kumar Raya of SP, Ranjeet Gosai of MJF-N, Ashok Kumra Mehta Koyeri of TMLP, and Ramwilas Mehta of MJF-R. A total of 29 political party candidates and 3 independent are wrestling their muscles in this constituency along with Gachhdar.
Raj Kishor Yadav, Chairman of MJF-R and a big name in Madheshi politics is contending elections from Siraha-6. He has been also victimzed by the Madheshi party split. MJF-D’s Paro Devi Bhindwar and MJF-N Ramsogarath Yadav have given him a tought fight. Other adding to his woes are TMLP Suresh Kumar Mandanl, SP’s Om Prakash Shah, and Rashtriya Madhesh Samajwadi party’s Pradeep Kumar Mandal. And from major parties, Sita Kumari Devi Shah (UML), Amarnath Yadav (UCPN-Maoist) and Ganesh Kumar Mandal (Nepali Congress) are competing against Raj Kishor. A total of 30 political party candidates and 18 independent candidates are contending in this constituency.
Two titans of Madheshi movement- SP’s Rajendra Mahato and TMSP’s Mahendra Rai Yadav are fighting against each other in Sarlahi-4. One’s defeat is sure, if not boths. Both of them are having hard time contending against TMSP’s Ram Naresh Yadav, who has major influence in the constituency’s Yadav community. 28 political party candidates which are Madhesh party split aways and some from major parties and 10 independent candidates are contending in this constituency.
TMLP’s Mahantha Thakur, a seasoned Madheshi politician is contending elections from Sarlahi-6. He is facing tought competition from split-away party TMSP. Shiv Pujan Raya Yadav, an influential leader in this constituency and a former close aide of Thakur is making it hard for Thakur to compete. Next Umresh Kumar Singh, who has got some limelight for his Delhi-connections, is also testing his luck against Thakur. A total of 28 political party candidates and towering 23 independent candidates are competing in this constituency.
Last but not the least, SSP’s Anil Kumar Jha is contending from Rautahat-1. He is confronting CPN UML’s senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal along with other small fishes like SP’s Yogendra Rai Yadav, NSP-Gajendra’s Madan Kumar Jha among others. A total of 39 political party candidates and 21 independent candidates are contending in this region.
(Shashi Koirala is editor of ReportersNepal.com. Originally published here in Nepali, this article was translated and edited by Chitra Raj Bhandari)