Madheshi politics in Nepal

Though Madheshi politics goes way back to Terai congress of 1950s and Nepal Sadbhawana party of 1990s but it gained its ultimate height with "Madhesh agitations" led by Madheshi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) in 2007 and Madheshi Front in 2008 and 2015.


In the first government (Feb 13, 1951) after the end of Rana Dynasty there were 10 members including 1 madheshi leader Bhadrakali Mishra as he was somehow linked with Nepali congress and a madheshi as well.

9 political parties took part in the first election of Nepal in 1959 (2015 BS). Terai congress, one among them, was a geographical party focused in Terai-madhesh region of Nepal. This party was the one of splinter of the original Nepali congress party and it was led by Badananda Jha. Terai congress did not won any seat among 109 total but got 2.1% popular vote. Another party, one fraction of Nepal Prajaparishad was led by a Madheshi leader Bhadrakali Mishra. This party however won 1 seat and got 3.3% popular vote.

King Mahendra imposed Panchayati System in Dec 15, 1960 banning all political parties in Nepal. So major activities of political parties got limited in India after that. Most of the madheshi leaders were engaged with Nepali congress party.

Democratic era of 1990-2008 : The original "Nepal Sadbhawana Party"

(In the elections of 1991, 1994, 1999 and CA elections of 2008 and 2013 several Madheshi leaders elected from Mainstream parties like Nepali Congress, CPN UML, Rastriya Prajatantra Party, UCPN Maoist and other. But the article below this is about only Madhesh-centric parties.)

Gajendra Narayan Singh, the iconic Madheshi leader, founded "Nepal Sadbhawana Party" in 1985 and remained the president of party until he died in Jan 23, 2002. This party was the first Madheshi party in modern Nepali politics after restoration of the democracy.

Democratic election held in May 12, 1991. NSP had 75 candidates in 205 constituencies and won 6 seats (4.1% popular vote) in the election.

In the general election of 1994 NSP won 3 seats and 3.49% popular votes.
Gajendra Narayan Singh won from Saptrai 2,
Anish Ansari won from Saptari 3 and
Hridayas Tripathi won from Nawalparasi 3.
In Sarlahi 2 Rajendra Mahato was defeated by Meena Pandey of Nepali congress.

In 1999 general election NSP won 5 seats with 3.22% popular votes.
Badri Mandal from Morang 7,
Rajendra Mahato from Sarlahi 2,
Mrigendra Kumar Singh Yadav from Saptrai 5,
Hridayes Tripathi from Nawalparasi 3 and
Yagyajit Shah from Rupendehi 5.
Party president Gajendra Narayan Singh was defeated in Saptari 2.

After the death of Gajendra Narayan Singh in 2002 NSP lost its rhythm. New president Badri Mandal could not hold the party together and NSP (Anandidevi) led by Anandidevi, widow of Gajendra , broke away from NSP in 2003. NSP-A played a key role to restoration of democracy in Nepal in 2006 as one of the member of 7-party alliance. After Mandal was expelled from the NSP, the new president Laxman Lal Karn merged NSP with NSP-A in 2007 June. MJF started successful Madhesh Agitation in Jan 2007 and made 22-point agreement with government in 2007 Aug 30. Madhesi leaders from various political parties saw the new opportunity and created/splinted their own parties to get the better deal.

Madheshi upraising of 2007 and 2008

After the implementation of interim constitution of 2007 an organization called "Madheshi Janadhikar Forum (MJF)" called for new agitation on 2007 Jan 16 which took madheshi politics to the different level. In Aug 30, 2007 government made 22 point deal with the protesters. MJF led by Upendra Yadav leter transformed itself to the political party.

Many Madheshi leaders from Nepali Congress, Nepal Sadbhawana Party and CPN UML saw that as an opportunity. Nepali congress leader Mahanta Thakur founded his "Terai-madhesh loktantrik party" in Dec 2008. Mahendra Raya Yadav (UML), Hridayesh Tripathi (NSP), Sarbendra Nath Shukla (RPP), Anish Ansari (NSP), Ram Chandra Kushwaha (NC) etc were other founding members of TMLP.

Rajendra Mahato & Laxman Lal Karn split from Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandidevi) to form their "Sadbawana Party" in sep 2007.

MJF itself split in Sep-dec 2007. Bhagyanath Gupta, Kishor Kumar Bishwash, Ram Kumar Sharma and Jitendra Sonal expelled from the original MJF and founded their own MJF-Madhesh after that.

The following constituent assembly election in Apr 2008 Madheshi parties had huge success. MJF, and TMLP became 4th and 5th largest party winning 54 & 21 seats respectively among total 601 seats of the CA. Sadbhawana Party won 9 and NSP-A won 3 seats in that election.

But from 2008 to the next election in 2013 all of these parties got several splits consequently getting bad result in 2013 CA election.

In July 2008, Constituent Assembly elected President and Vice-President of Nepal from Madheshi community. Nepali congress candidate Ram Baran Yadav defeated another madheshi candidate Ram Raja Prasad Singh (Maoist's candidate) and became the first president of Nepal. Parmananda Jha from MJF elected as the first vice-president of Nepal.

2008 winning of CA (total 601 seats)
Madheshi Janadhikar Forum, Nepal - 54 seats
Terai Madhesh Loktantrik party - 21 seats
Sadbhawana Party - 9 seats
Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandidevi) - 3 seats

2013 winning of CA (total 601 seats)
Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum, Nepal (Loktantrik) - 14 (Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar)
Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum, Nepal - 10 (Upendra Yadav)
Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party - 11 (Mahanta Thakur)
Sadbhawana Party - 6 (Rajendra Mahto)
Rastriya Madhesh Samajbadi Party - 3 (Sharat Singh Bhandari)
Terai Madhesh Sadbhawana Party - 3 (Mahendra Raya Yadav)
Madeshi Janadikar Forum (Gantantrik) - 1
Sanghiya Sadhbhawana Party - 1
Madhesh Samata Party Nepal - 1

Timeline of Sadhbawana Party (1985-2017)

1985 : Nepal Sadbhawana Party was established by Gajendra Narayan Singh
July 2001: NSP restructured, Gajendra Narayan (President), Badri Mandal (VP), Hrideyesh Tripathi (VP), Rajendra Mahto (Gen Secretory), Sarita Giri (Spokesperson)
Jan 23, 2002: Gajendra Narayan Singh died. Badri Prasad Mandal appointed acting chairman
Mar 2003: In the 4th convention party split. New party formed as Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Andandidevi) led by Anandidevi (widow of late Gajendra Narayan), Hridayesh Tripathi etc.
Early 2007: Badri Mandal expelled from the NSP. Laxman Lal Karn became new president.
June 2007: NSP merged with NSP (anandidevi)
Sep 2007: new NSP (anandidevi) split.  Rajendra Mahato and Laxman Lal Karna formed their own NSP (anandidevi) without Anandidevi Singh but later renamed as Sadbhawana Party.
Feb 2008: NSP (a) broke again. Khushi Lal Mandal registered his own NSP (Anandidevi) with election commission. The original NSP (anandidevi) remained with Anandidevi and Shyam Sundar Gupta.
Apr 2008 : First CA election
Aug 2008: Anandidevi singh was expelled from NSP (anandidevi). Shyam Sundar Gupta became new acting president.
2011: Anil Kumar Jha spilit from NSP to establish "Sanghiya Sadbhawana Party - 2011".
Nov 13 2013: Second CA Election
2015: a farction of Sadbhawana Party led by Sarita Giri and Sanghiya Sadbhawana party led by Anil jha merged together to form the new "Nepal Sadbhawana Party - 2015"which claims its root back to original sadbhawana party.
Apr 20, 2017: Sadbhawana Party led by Rajendra Mahato dissolved into Rastriya Janata Party, Nepal along other 5 parties to create a new madheshi party.

Timeline of Madheshi Janadhikar Forum (2007-2015 SSF - present)
Jan 16, 2007: MJF started agitation with Madhesh band (general strike)
Mar 21, 2007: Gaur carnage between MJF and Maoist's Madheshi Rastriya Mukti Morcha, 27 killed
Aug 2007: MJF-Nepal made 22-points deal with the governement.
Sep-dec 2007. Bhagyanath Gupta, Kishor Kumar Bishwash, Ram Kumar Sharma and Jitendra Sonal expelled from the original MJF and founded their own MJF-Madhesh
Feb 28, 2008: United Democratic Madheshi Front (MJF, TMLP & Sadbhawana) made 8-point deal with government and stopped second madheshi agitation.
March 2008: Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar expelled from Congress and joined MJF.
Apr 2008 : First CA election
Aug 22, 2008: MJF entered the Parchanda government. Updendra yadav became foreign minister.
June 2009: Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar split from MJF-Nepal to from future MJF-Loktantrik.
June 2012: Sharat Singh Bhandari expelled from MJF-Loktantrik. He later founded Rastriya Madhes Samajwadi Party (June 27)
Nov 13 2013: Second CA Election
Jun 2015 : MJF-N led by Upndra Yadav, the Federal Socialist Party Nepal (FSPN) and the Khas Samabeshi Party merged to form Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum. Its now 5th largest party in the parliament.

Timeline of Terai Madhesh Loktanrik Party (2007-2017)
Dec 2007: Mahanta Thakur (from Nepali Congress), Hridayesh Tripathi (from NSP), Sarbendra Nath Sukla (from Rastriya Prajatantra Party), Ramchandra Kushwaha (from Nepali Congress), Mahendra Raya Yadav (from CPN UML) etc founded Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party.
Apr 2008 : First CA election
Dec 2010: party split. A new party Terai Madhesh Sadbhawana Party founded in the leadership of Mahendra Raya Yadav.
Nov 13 2013: Second CA Election
Apr 20, 2017: TMLP dissolved into Rastriya Janata Party, Nepal along other 5 madheshi parties.

Third Madhesh agitation by Madheshi Front & Federal Alliance- 2015/2016

After the agreement of 2015 Aug 8 between four major political parties (Congress, UML, Maoist and Forum-Democratic) on 6 state model Tharu forces in western Terai came into action demanding separate Tharuhat/Tharuwan state. Daily protests happened in the western terai. In 2015 Aug 24 8 policemen including SSP killed in tharuhat protest. In eastern Terai madheshi forces also started the protest. Despite of severe the internal and external pressure from daily-protesting madheshi and India Sushil Koirala government got the constitution promulgated in 2015 Sep 20. From Sep 24 India started the blockade which was followed by Madheshi morcha. In Oct 12 KP Oli sworn in as the Prime Minister. Tharuhat agitation slowed down but Madhesh agitation and blockade continued. After the worldwide protest of Nepali people against Indian blockade, several phases of gov-madheshi front talk and minor amendment in the constitution in 2016 Jan 23 Indian blockade started to got loose. In Feb 8 Madheshi front officially took back blockade program which was already lifted. As India never acknowledged the blockage they did not announce the lift.

Following parties were grouped together during agitation before creation of Sanghiya Gadhabandhan in 2016 May.

United Democratic Madheshi Front
- Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum led by Upendra Yadav (15)
- Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party led by Mahanta Thakur (11)
- Sadbhawana Party led by Rajendra Mahato (6)
- Terai Madhesh Sadbhawana Party led by Mahendra Raya Yadav (3)

Federal Democratic Front (Since sep 2, 2015)
- Rastriya Madhesh Samajwadi Party led by Sarat Singh Bhandari (3)
- MJF-Loktantrik led by Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar (14)
- MJF-Ganatantrik led by Raj Kishor Yadav (1)

Other Madheshi parties
- Sanghiya Sadbhawana Party (1)
- Madhesh Samata Party (1)
- Nepal Sadbhawana Party-2015 led by Anil Kumar Jha and Sarita Giri (0)

Sanghiya Gathbandhan (Federal Alliance) - 2016/2017
In 2016 May 14 Madheshi morcha formed Federal alliance/Santhiya Gathabandhan (alliance of 29 madheshi and janajati parties) and started capital-centric agitation. In May 19, 2016  3 parties (Lok Dal led by Kaushalkumar Singh, Bahujan Samaj Party led by Ganga Mahara and Loktantrik Party, Nepal) left Sanghiya gadhabandhan saying capital-centric agitation was started without discussion. In 2016 June 7 Sanghiya Gathabandhan started huger strike. In 2016 June 12 Government sent letter to Gathabandhan for talk. Government declared martyr to 41 agitators and 11 security forces in Aug 18, 2016. Federal alliance agitation slowed down.

In 2017 Feb 25 Government decided to have local election in 2017 may 14 but gathabandhan said it will boycott the election. But Forum led by Upendra Yadav decided to participate in the local election. In 2017 May 6 Sanghiya Gadhabandhan meeting kicked out SS Forum led by Upendra Yadav from the gathabandhan.

SS Forum participated in the first phase & second of the local election of 2017 May 14 with Naya Shakti party. Six parties of madheshi front united as RJP before the second phase of local election. And eventually RJP also participated in the 3rd phase (2017 Sep 18). So, the third madheshi agitation concluded without any achievement.

Local Elections of 2017 (May 14, Jun 28, Sep 18)Both Forums participated in 1st, 2nd & 3rd phase of local election. RJP initially rejected the election but participated in the 3rd phase of election conducted in the core madhesh (state-2).  In total 744 local levels 3 major parties UML, NC & Maoist won 292, 274 and 107 local chiefs respectively leaving madhesh-based parties far behind. SS Forum, RJP and NL Forum shettled for 30, 26 and 9 only.

Developments before General Elections:-

As the new constitution provisioned at least 3% vote required to get federal proportional seat & 1.5% vote required to get state proportional seat, many smaller parties had to be merged into each other or dissolved into large parties.

2015 Jun : Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum: The original MJF-N led by Upndra Yadav, the Federal Socialist Party Nepal (FSPN) and the Khas Samabeshi Party had merged to form Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum in 2015 Jun. This party continued until 2017 elections as such.

2017 Apr 5: Nepal Loktantrik Forum: Bijay Kumar Gachhadar-led Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik), Rastriya Janamukti (Loktantrik) and Dalit Janajati Party announced their unification to form Nepal Loktantri Forum. These parties had 16 , 2 and 1 seats respectively in the parliament. ( In 2017 May 8, Gachhadar sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister in Prachanda government.  In 2017 June 7: Deuba swornd in as PM, Gachhadar continued as his Deputy PM. In 2017 Oct 17, Gachhadar merged his party "Nepal Loktantrik Forum" into Nepali Congress. Many leaders from the party protested that step.

2017 Apr 20: Rastriya Janata Party Nepal- Six madhesh centric parties joint each other to form a new madhesh centric party. The six parties are Mahantha Thakur-led Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party, Rajendra Mahato-led Sadbhawana Party, Sharat Singh Bhandari-led Rastriya Madhes Samajbadi Party, Mahendra Yadav-led Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party, Rajkishor Yadav-led Madhesi Janadhikar Forum- Ganatantrik and Anil Jha-led Nepal Sadbhawana Party. They initially had the name Rastriya Janata Party but as this name are already registered in the election council they added "Nepal" at the end. ( 

2017 Oct 2: 5 key leaders of RJP from State-5 including member of party president-council Hridayesh Tripathi decided to run coming state & federal election using election symbol "sun" of CPN UML. Other leaders are Brijesh Kumar Gupta, Pashupatidayal Mishra, Ishwordayal Mishra & Jagdish Shukla. All top leaders from RJP are from State-2 and it had rejected local election in other states except state-2.

2017 Oct 3: CPN UML & CPN Maoist Center formed "Left Alliance".

2017 Oct 17: Nepal Loktantrik Forum led by Bijay Kumar Gachhadar merged into Nepali Congress.

Federal & State Elections of 2017 (Nov 26 & Dec 7)

SSF & RJP jointly contested in this election for State no 2. There will be three side election in Core Madhesh (state 2): SSF+RJP, UML+Maoist & Nepali Congress.

2017 Nov 26 & Dec 7: Legislative and State assembly election. Dec 7 in state 2. SSFN and RJPN participated jointly in state 2 and got 29 and 24 seats respectively out of total 107 seats of State assembly. UML and CPNM got 21 and 13 seats and Nepali congress got 19 seats.

2018 Jan 21: all state assembly including state 2 assembly members too oath in their respective state.
2018 Feb 4: first meeting of state 2 assembly.
2018 Feb 14: Saroj Kumar Yadav (RJPN) elected uncontested as the Speaker of State 2 assembly.\
2018 Feb: Md. Lalbabu Raut Gaddi (SSFN) became the chief minister of State 2.(li)

2018 Feb 20: talks between State 2 Government and agitators demanding city of Birgunj to be capital city of state 2 ended without conclusion.(li) As soon as Deuba govt declared temporary capital of all 7 states (including Janakpur in State 2) in 2018 Jan 17, protests arose Birgunj and other cities.(li)

2018 Feb 24: state 2 chief minister Raut wrote letter to central government not to be unhelpful in state matters. (link)

See Also
  1. Madheshi people
  2. Koshi high dam
  3. Hulaki rajmarga
  4. Timeline of Nepal (1990-present)
  5. Timeline of Constitution of Nepal 2015 : before & after
  6. Timeline of Nepalese Civil War (1996-2006)