By Binod Prasad Adhikari Bharatpur [Nepal], Oct. 19 : Acknowledging that the previous Constitutions had "discriminatory" provisions, Nepali Congress leader Raghu Nath Paudel, who is also a member of the Constitution Suggestion Committee, claimed that the newly-promulgated Constitution addresses all the Madheshis' demands, even as various Madheshi groups are protesting and blaming that the Constitution is still "discriminatory".
Paudel also called upon all major political parties to rethink their stand on the Madheshis' demands, especially over demarcation of two states for them.
Citing "inclusion" in the military, he differentiated between the previous constitutions with the new one.
"The earlier constitution was promulgated by panchayat and after the establishment of multiparty system, it kept the Madhesis backward in terms of practical implementation of the Constitution, and they were not being recruited in the army by the government." Paudel said.
"The newly-promulgated Constitution, however, assures equal rights to all Nepali citizens and I don't think that Madhesis have been deprived of all those rights," he added.
The Madhesh parties have been demanding two states comprising the districts lying in the southern plain.
Paudel said there was no objection to the demand of demarking states and giving two states to Madhesis.
"There is a draft of making seven states in Nepal, of which Madhesis have demanded two states. Instead of two states, it has become one -"Ek Madhesh Ek Pradesh (One Madhesh One State)" - from Nawalparasi to Bardiya (district) and if another state is made, it will be fine," Paudel Said.
As there is a lack of consensus among parties over the demand of states, Paudel suggested the major three parties to rethink over it.
"The three major parties - the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Maoist Center - should think that it is an internal issue and all are Nepali.
If the Madhesis will be satisfied with two states, the major parties should rethink their stand on their demand.
They should not be rigid on the demarcation of the states as it would not hamper the development and politics of the country," he said.
Speaking on the Madhesis' demand of placing neutral people on higher posts, Paudel opined that the people in Nepal don't trust the people with neutral citizenship.
"The main thing is that those who have got the natural citizenship should not be taken to the higher positions, because people do not trust and should not trust the people with neutral citizenship when it comes to nationalism." It has been more than a year since the Madhesis demanding amendments in the Constitution, which they think is discriminative.
The disgruntled parties started capital-centric protests for the last six months, but their demands are yet to be met.
When asked about ways to solve the long-standing crisis, Paudel said amending the Constitution would serve the best.
"The ongoing crisis can be solved through amendment of constitution. The newly-promulgated Constitution can be implemented. When we talk about the opposition CPN-UML, it also has agreed to give two states to the Madhesis, and thus, others also must agree to it.
Regarding the issue of natural citizenship, all the parties have agreed not to give higher post with it.".