According to political analyst, Mahadev Saha, despite leading the provincial government, the parties have failed to deliver the people’s mandate. He alleges their politics have been confined to supporting allies and gaining personal benefits.
Journalist Chandra Kishore, from Birganj says that Madhesh-based parties have been unable to maintain their rapport with the public and that the centre had cashed on it. “The leaders of JSP themselves have become redundant. They have ideological conflict, which is unattractive to the public.”
Former Treasurer of Federation of Nepali Journalists, Sheetal Sah agrees. “The political parties within JSP did not win the election because they were pro-active, it was just that the political atmosphere was in their favour. And now that they haven’t delivered on their commitment, they have become unpopular.”
It is still too early to analyse how the rift within the UML will potentially impact the Madhesh-centric parties. Critics of PM Oli have pointed out in the past that he had lost his hold over Tarai because of his prejudices during the Madhesh movement.
“Oli is making an effort to revive his image in Madhesh,” says Gangalal Yadav of Siraha. The Oli-led UML faction is wooing local leaders and thinkers from other parties into their fold, who have the potential to lure the voters.
Other than that, the construction of postal roads, connecting the highways to the district headquarters, and the Kosi-Marine Diversion Irrigation Project are some of Oli’s attempts to influence development in the Tarai.
Before 2007, Province 2 was a Nepali Congress (NC) stronghold. With the rise of the Tarai-centric parties, the NC fortress was stormed and influential leaders from Madhesh, like Mahantha Thakur, JP Gupta, Sharat Singh Bhandari quit Congress to join the regional parties, which chipped away at the Nepali Congress ‘vote bank’.
With the lure of the Madhesh-based parties waning, is NC likely to revive its influence once more? The perspectives remain divided.
JSP Executive Member Shailesh Chaudhary views the internal tussle within NC as the fundamental problem even though it could be an alternative to JSP. He says, “People do not have anger towards [Nepali] Congress. The internal conflict and groupism are what is concerning.”