People in Dang have started indefinite general strike in the district from Wednesday demanding it be made capital of Province 5. Transportation, educational institutions, factories shops and all other institutions have been shut down since Wednesday morning.
Protesters have also blocked the East-West Highway. Thousands of passengers travelling in hundreds of vehicles have been stranded as a result. All the markets in the district including Hapure in the west to Bhaluwang in the east have been completely shut down. People are burning tires in demonstration in Tulsipur, Narayanpur, Ghorahi, Lamahi, Ameliya and other places. Commoners have taken to the streets demanding the district be made provincial capital.
Leaders and cadres of Nepali Congress (NC) in the district are chanting slogans against their party president and Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba for preparing to make Butwal the temporary capital of Province 5. Minister of State for Labor and Employment Dilli Bahadur Chaudhary, considered a Deuba confidant, has mobilized cadres to enforce the general strike.
“I will tolerate if I am expelled from the government today itself but I cannot meekly watch the injustice on Dang,” Chaudhary, who is provincial legislator from the province, told Setopati. He claimed that leaders and cadres of Butwal and Bhairahawa have put immense pressure on PM Deuba to deprive Dang of provincial capital.
All the parties in the district are united in demanding that Dang be made provincial capital. CPN (Maoist Center) leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who has been elected to the House of Representatives (HoR) from Dang-2, reiterated that Dang should be made capital of Province 5. “To look for provincial capital outside Dang is non-political and irrational. I am in protest, in support of the people. The protest should be intensified and I will come to Dang for agitation,” Mahara told Setopati over the phone. “It is the right of people to protest when there is injustice,” Mahara added and claimed that a city at the border cannot be made provincial capital.
CPN-UML leader Shankar Pokharel, who has been proposed as the chief minister of Province 5, refused to speak about the protest and general strike in Dang. He did not take this scribe’s phone despite repeated attempts for the past two days.