Six prominent Madhesi parties in Nepal today merged to form Rastirya Janata Party ahead of the May 14 local elections. The six parties that have merged into a single party include Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party, Sadbhawana Party, Rastriya Madhes Samajbadi Party, Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum- Ganatantrik and Nepal Sadbhawana Party. The six Madhesi parties have 24 lawmakers represented in the parliament. The new party is likely to pick up Mahantha Thakur as its Chairman.
It has decided to choose umbrella as the election symbol. The merger of the six agitating Madhesi parties based on southern Nepal's Terai region comes ahead of the country's first local level elections in two decades. Madhesi parties have warned the government that they would disrupt the May 14 local election if their demands, including proportional representation in Parliament, are not addressed. The Madhesi parties, who claim to represent the interests of inhabitants of the southern Terai region who are mostly of Indian origin, demand that the Constitution promulgated in 2015 be amended to revise the provisions of citizenship and re-demarcation of the provincial boundary before going to the May polls. Although they have announced to boycott the polls, Prachanda-led coalition government is making all efforts to bring them to the electoral process so as to implement the constitution.