Mahato changes tune, Thakur sings same old song

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Leader of the newly united Madhes-based party Rajendra Mahato changed his tune but chief of the party Mahantha Thakur reiterated the hard-line stance of a single autonomous Madhes province.

Addressing the program for unification of six Madhes-based parties on Thursday, Mahato said the party no longer belongs only to the Madhes and also represents the hills and mountains. He added the party will now speak for Madhes only after speaking for the people first.

"We now hold the key to the country," Mahato, who is member of the leadership council of the united Rastriya Janata Party, stated. "We have given a fitting response to those who questioned unity among Madhes-based parties. This is not just unification of parties but that of Madhesis," he added.

He claimed that the local election cannot be held without constitution amendment and challenged the government to hold it without consent of Madhesis and Tharus. "Election in Madhes is possible only after consensus and agreement. We don't have alternative to struggle," he added.

Coordinator of the leadership council Thakur, on the other hand, warned the government that it will lose Madhes and not just Madhesi people if it does not mend its ways. "We want a single province for Madhes, an autonomous Madhes," he added.

Six Madhes-based parties--Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party, Sadbhawana Party, Tarai-Madhes Sadbhawana Party, Rastriya Madhes Samajbadi Party, Nepal Sadbhawana Party and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic—unified to form Rastriya Janata Party Thursday afternoon.

The united party will have a tri-color flag with red depicting revolution, white peace and green prosperity, the party's leaders confirmed. The party has opted for a leadership council and erstwhile leader of Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party Mahantha Thakur will lead the council now. The party has decided to choose umbrella as the election symbol.

A marathon meeting of the leaders that started at eight Wednesday night and continued till three Thursday morning had chosen the name Rastriya Janata Party devoid of the term Madhes, their base. 

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