Sunday, April 20, 2008

Janajatis upbeat after poll showing; bag 82 seats

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, April 19:

Results of the Constituent Assembly (CA) polls have paved the way for a greater participation of the Janajatis in politics.

Out of 226 elected members of the CA, 82 belong to different ethnic groups. This means around 38 per cent members of the CA will be Janajatis. According to an estimate, Janajatis constitute 37 per cent of the total population.

In earlier elections, the ethic groups were either discouraged by the party leadership from coming into the central level or they themselves were indifferent to party politics. There were only 31 Janajati MPs in the earlier parliament, which had 205 MPs.

Of the total elected CA members, 50 belong to the CPN-Maoist, while the NC and UML each have 10 Janajati CA members. The remaining 12 members are from Madheshi-oriented parties like the Madheshi Janadhikar Forum, Tarai Madheshi Democratic Party and the Sadbhawana Party.

The Magars have won 14 seats, the Newars 13 seats, the Tharus have 12 seats and the Gurungs have won 10 seats. The Rais and Tamangs have won 8 seats each, while the Limbus have bagged 7 seats. Other smaller ethnic groups have secured remaining 10 seats.

Only 12 Newars, 7 Limbus and 6 Gurungs were in the former parliament. The Rais and the Tamangs had two seats for each of them, while two other seats belonged to other minor communities.

In comparison, the Magars have shown a drastic presence in politics by turning from non-present in the former parliament to 14 seats this time. The Tharus, which had no representation in the former parliament, have bagged 12 seats this time. The Tamangs, who held only 2 seats in the former parliament, have bagged eight seats. This time too, the Limbus have bagged 7 seats. Compared to the former parliament, the presence of the Newars has gone down by two seats.

Interestingly, the Janajatis have saved face of the two major parties — the NC and the UML — in this election. Both the parties had been criticised for discriminating against the Janajatis while distributing “tickets”.

But Janajati leaders, who got party tickets, secured almost one-third of total seats won by both the parties. Ten out of 35 CA members, who were elected on NC ticket, were Janajatis. Out of 31 CA members elected on UML ticket, 10 were Janajatis.
[KATHMANDU, APRIL 20, 2008, Baishakh 08, 2065 ]