Interview with Upendra Yadav – MJF Chief

May 23, 2008 at 8:01 pm Leave a comment

Interview with Upendra Yadav – MJF Chief

The MJF’s Upendra Yadav is a political kingmaker and seems to know it. As aides scurried around fixing meetings and activists chatted loudly in Maithili, Yadav spoke to Nepali Times’s Prashant Jha at the party office in Pulchok this week. Though guarded about government formation, relations with Maoists, and the future of Madhesi politics, he was scathing about India.

What is the mandate of the people?
Change. Radical forces, agitational forces, have won. The rest have been swept aside. The people voted for us because we led the Madhes movement and fought genuinely for Madhesi rights. The masses want us to continue fighting against Kathmandu.

Will you join the government?
Our joining the government is really a secondary issue. The crux is whether they implement past agreements, and whether they amend the constitution to incorporate the provision of an autonomous Madhes state. That is our key demand prior to any deal. As of now, we are not in favour of joining the government.

Do you think Girija Prasad Koirala should become a ceremonial president?
Girija Prasad Koirala must resign immediately to pave the way for a new government. He has no right to be president. His party has lost under his leadership. He is physically, emotionally, mentally, intellectually, morally not appropriate for the job.

How do you see the role of India in Madhesi politics?
Very negative. India, especially South Block and the Indian Embassy, have been against the Madhes and MJF. They created the TMLP to weaken us. In fact, one of the reasons the pre-election alliance did not happen was because India was trying to boost up TMLP. They also tried to defeat me in Sunsari by backing Sujata Koirala, funding her and getting people from across the border to support her. I am not saying anything against the Indian people or the entire Indian government. Sections of MEA, especially ambassador Shiv Shanker Mukherjee, were against us. As the counting started and results came, Mukherjee packed up and ran off. I don’t know the new ambassador yet.

Was RAW more positive?
I have never met any of them. Don’t know them.

How do see your relationship with Maoists shaping up given the past tension? What is your stand on issues like PLA integration?
We have met already. If the Maoists are positive towards the Madhes, I think we can work together. The army must be a politically neutral force. If the soldiers of one party join the national army, problems might come up. The PLA has to be managed and some way needs to be found. But I don’t think integration will be appropriate.

The Maoists have said they will launch land reforms. This has implications in the Tarai. What is your stand?
These issues come later. First we have to fight a political battle against the internal colonialism in the Madhes.

What should be done with armed groups?
Talk to them. Do not ignore them. What can I do? It is the government which has to take the initiative. It is a part of the eight-point agreement.

Is a single Madhes province across the plains a feasible demand? Western Tharus want their own unit, there are mixed population settlements, other administrative issues will crop up.
See, the people of the Madhes want one province. This is a non-negotiable demand for us and not a bargaining chip. If we compromise on this issue, the Madhes will be finished.The Pahadi ruling class will divide up the Tarai and we will all be powerless little units. Tharus and others in the west are also with us. If there are internal issues within the Tarai, we will deal with it ourselves within one Madhes, that is our business. If the other parties do not agree, we will launch a decisive movement and go back to the streets.

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Forum in Maostan Caste, class and religion

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