Master of Arts
Department or Program
Due to incredible socioeconomic stratification of society in the context of extreme demographic and regional diversity, regionalism has been a crucial political issue for Nepal during the recent democratic transition. The traditional power elite belonging to hill “high caste” groups are trying to maintain the centralized power structure to protect their own interests. On the other hand, various ethnic and regional identity groups, who have fought for autonomy and self-rule, want their identity and rights to be recognized. Despite the promulgation of the federal constitution by the Constitutional Assembly in 2015, many ethnic and regional identity groups have expressed their opposition for the restructuring of the state based on territorial principle which ignores their identity.
Despite the historical struggle of ethnic and regional groups, this research shows a significant section of the voters belonging to these groups are divided on the federal question. There is lack of internal cohesion, communication and solidarity within and across many of the identity groups, despite the prediction of such cohesion by the existing theories of regionalism. Scholars of regionalism assume that economic and social differences automatically produce ethnic mobilization and regionalism. The case of Nepal shows that such assumption is not always true as we do not find the extent of support for ethnic federalism prescribed by various theories of regionalism.