Exhibiting Flexibility On Federalism

6 Geographic States With Geographic Names

There are some fundamentals that you can not compromise on. For example, there is no compromising on the very idea of federalism. Similarly, there is no compromising on the Madhesi Kranti agreement that the Terai's share in the national parliament will be proportionate to its population. So if 50% of Nepal lives in the Terai, it will have 50% of the MPs. If 55% of the people live in the Terai, it will have 55% of the MPs. There is no compromise on the northern boundary. The northern boundaries of the 20 Terai districts will stay the northern boundaries of the Terai states.

But those stands also create plenty of room for compromise. For example, it is not true that there can be only one state in the Terai. That might have been the starting point in the negotiations. But there are other viable options. There could be two states. Chitwan to Kanchanpur could be one state. Birgunj to Jhapa could be another state. Heck, personally speaking, I am open to the idea of five states in the Terai. Tharuhat, Lumbini (Chitwan included), Bhojpura, Mithila, Kochila. You will note, four are cultural names, one is a geographic name. I think that might also be a good formula for the hills. Some states in the hills will have geographic names, some will have cultural names.

I am open to being even more flexible. What if you create only two states in the Terai and give them both geographic names? My preferred position is to create two states in the Terai that include the Bhitri Madhesh (Inner Terai). So Nawalparasi to Kanchanpur (Surkhet included) would be West Terai. Chitwan to Jhapa (Udaypur included) would be East Terai. Two states with purely geographic names.

There is a fear among the Parbates (I am dividing the Terai population into two for this discussion: Madhesi and Parbate) in the Terai that once you create the states in the Terai, only Madhesis will become Chief Minister. My way to address that fear is by including Surkhet, Chitwan and Udaypur in the Terai states. Parbate and Madhesi are already in the 50-50 ratio in Jhapa, Morang, Kailali and Kanchanpur. In my preferred position of two states, the Parbates will stand a good chance of grabbing the Chief Ministership in the Terai.

The disadvantage of the two state ideas is you might have to keep the district boundaries, otherwise the state government might be too far from the local government. There the five state idea is better. Then you will not miss the district boundaries.

Personally I am very open to Ek Madhesh, Panch Pradesh, as long the fundamentals I have outlined in the first paragraph are respected.

In this blog post I have not talked in detail about the hills because I want the hill people to talk more about that. I have a few ideas, but I want to leave the details to them. It is my guess that there will be about five states in the hills as well. Some will have geographic names. Some will have cultural names. But all will have to be one word names.


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