Members of Armed Police Force (APF) heading towards eastern Terai where demonstrations are happening in the past 11 days. Five buses full of policemen passed from Chitwan. Pic by Dipendra Baduwal
So Hridayesh Tripathi resigned from the Cabinet, huh? Why? This is his version: “The Seven Party Alliance (of which his party Nepal Sadbhabana Party (A) is a member) is not serious enough over the present turmoil in the Terai region. The eight parties (Maoist included) have failed to show the level of seriousness that merits the present situation. Madhesh is moving ahead with its genuine demands regarding the proportional electoral procedure and federal setup, among others. We had issued a note of dissent on the very day the interim constitution was promulgated on 15 January, however, there has been no hearing.”
It might appear that Tripathi is genuinely concerned about the movement that is going on in Terai region but make no mistake he is more worried about losing vote banks than the “genuine demands.” We have rarely seen a minister in Nepal resigning on real issues. Who can forget that Tripathi was until recently fighting within his party to be nominated in the cabinet? Anyway he was suffering from jaundice and was blaming the poor quality of drinking water in his ministry (Commerce, Industry and Supplies). He wasn’t working so his departure shouldn’t come as a blow to the day to day affairs of the government. Nevertheless his outing must be taken seriously by the government in terms of dealing with the politics that is intensifying in Terai. Members of SPA-M are divided over one demand (proportional electoral procedure). Nepali Congress, the party of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, has different view on this issue. Nepali Congress might be correct on its stand and the issue must be seriously discussed before taking any decision. But that must happen soon. First, the SPA and Maoists must come up with one voice. Yes they did so in Interim Constitution but it has by now proved that that wasn’t sufficient to address the grievances of people in Terai.
Participants in a peace rally organized by locals in Rani area in Biratnagar. The eastern industrial town remained relatively peaceful today. Pic by Bhim Ghimire Continue reading A Minister Resigns to Play Vote Politics As Tension Continues in Eastern Terai