Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Blockade: A Tug of War Between Govt and Madheshi Parties

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Lecturer of Journalism, Peoples Campus,  RR Campus.

Warning that millions of Nepalese children are at risk because of the blockade, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has cautioned that the blockade has led to severe shortages of fuel, medicine and essential goods.  UNICEF was quoted as saying in the media reports that " the ongoing blockade of Nepal's border with India, which has now stretched for months and created shortages of essential goods like fuel, food and medicines,  may soon put millions of infants at risk of disease or even death."

It is so nice and overwhelming to know that even an international organization like UNICEF has spoken out about the serious consequences of the blockade. The UNICEF went on to stress that "the lack of essential medicines and vaccines, as well as the onset of winter as Nepal continues to recover from last year's devastating earthquake, will adversely affect over three million children under the age of five."

Although the independent, common Nepalese people have been emphasizing on the need for building consensus among both the mainstream political parties and the Madhesi parties to give an outlet to the ongoing blockade impasse, the stalwarts of both the mainstream parties as well as the Madhesi parties are embroiled in a tug of war for fulfilling their vested interests.

As a result, the common Nepalese people are caught in the crossfire in the raging battle between the government and mainstream parties on the one hand and Madhesi parties supported by the South Block on the other hand. It is to be noted that the political elites of both the mainstream parties as well as the Madhesi parties have not been affected by the blockade.

Nevertheless, the issue of the blockade has created polarization and trivial politicization in the Nepalese political spectrum in which the political elites from both the mainstream parties as well as Madhesi parties  are divided in their views and attitude about the blockade. It is obvious that the government should not fight or confront or challenge the Madhesi parties, the government should be able to bring the agitating Madhesis to the negotiating table and be able to address their issues in a rational manner, otherwise the country may plunge into an abyss of unending trouble and violence.

Both sides (the govt and mainstream political parties as well as the Madhesi parties) are equally stubborn and adamant  about their vested interest. Until and unless both sides are willing to sacrifice something for the cause of the common people and come to a compromise, there is no solution to the ongoing impasse. The need of the hour is: both sides should be able to be flexible.

There have been many rounds of talks between the government and Madhesis in the past but there still is no signs of breakthrough very soon. The reluctance of the government, mainstream parties as well as that of the Madhesi parties to move ahead with some flexible and mutually-acceptable steps have raised genuine questions about their vested interest, about their unnecessary intransigence and stubbornness. This shows that neither the government and mainstream parties  nor the Madhesi parties do give a damn about the common Nepalese people.

The political, social and economic situation is very critical and vulnerable in Nepal. The gauntlet thrown to the Nepalese people by the Indian trade blockade is unprecedented.

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