KATHMANDU, April 30: Voicing concern over ongoing strikes to press for an undivided far western region under state restructuring, nearly two dozen lawmakers representing the region have argued that it is not practical or scientific to keep regions with two different identities within a single province.
The lawmakers are scheduled to submit a memorandum to that effect to Chairman of the Constituent Assembly (CA) Subash Nembang, Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai and top leaders of all major political parties on Tuesday.
“The delineation of districts and zones was a concept put forth by the Panchayat regime. So the demand to keep the far west region undivided is not logical as inequality persisted in the region even after several years of maintaining the far western region as an undivided entity,” said Maoist lawmaker Sharad Singh Bhandari.
Bhandari argued that there was no guarantee an undivided far western region would ensure overall development in the region.
The joint statement of lawmakers from the region comes in the wake of various parties enforcing general strikes for the fourth consecutive day Monday demanding an undivided far-west region under the new state restructuring.
The lawmakers have argued that since Kailali and Kanchanpur of Seti and Mahakali Zones respectively are largely inhabited by Tharus it is a practical idea to keep both these districts in the proposed Tharuhat or Tharuwan federal province on the basis of ethnic identity. Likewise, they maintain that it would be scientific to place districts other than these two in another federal province with the geographic-identity name of Khaptad or Seti-Mahakali.
The 22 lawmakers issuing the joint statement include Sharad Singh Bhandari, Harilal Thapa Magar, Harish Thakulla, Shankar Bahadur Khadka, Renu Chand, Khem Bahadur Bam, Laxman Datta Joshi, Dabal Bahadur Shah, Bhagat Bahadur Baduwal, Rupa Soshi Chaudhari, Birman Chaudhari, Puran Rana Tharu and Krishna Kumar Chaudhari. State Minister for Education Lila Kumari Bhandari, Hariram Shripali, Sukdaiya Chaudhari, Puran Rana Tharu and Debilal Chaudhari are among Maoist lawmakers signing the joint statement.
Though Tharu lawmakers of the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, who are from that region, have signed the statement, senior leaders such as Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ramesh Lekhak of NC and Bhim Rawal of UML abstained. Likewise, Maoist lawmakers Lekha Raj Bhatta and Tekendra Bhatta have not joined the group.
Malamati Devi Rana of Sadbhawana Party, Phulmati Chaudhari of Rastriya Janashakti Party, Naradmuni Rana of UML, Ram Janam Chaudhary of Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) and Man Bahadur Mahato of Nepali Congress have also signed the statement.