Word renewed to amend draftExpressing their unwavering commitment to the six-province model, top leaders of four major parties on Thursday said genuine and logical demands concerning the delineation will be addressed while finalising the new constitution.
Expressing their unwavering commitment to the six-province model, top leaders of four major parties on Thursday said genuine and logical demands concerning the delineation will be addressed while finalising the new constitution.
The signatories to Saturday’s deal reiterated their pledge at a time when some parts of the country are simmering in protests against the alignment of some regions and districts.
Defending the cross-party deal, top leaders gave out a unified message of the country approaching constitution promulgation within the next couple of weeks. Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang has said the new statute will be out by August-end if everything goes as planned.
The leaders are trying to convince the agitating people across the country that violent protests are not necessary to press their agendas. Their appeal on Tuesday for calm was unable to pacify the protesters.
The Special Committee under the Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee (PDCC) is preparing to start negotiations with the disgruntled groups on Friday. According to a top leader, the demand for an undivided Mid West would be resolved by making Banke the headquarters of the province. Similarly, Karnali would be announced an autonomous region. Regarding the Tharuhat demand, parties are planning to split Kailali district after talks with senior leaders backing an undivided Far West.
Addressing Parliament, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, CPN-UML chief KP Oli and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gahhadar said the constitution drafting process would go unhindered.
Koirala said constitution writing would not stop at any cost. Urging the Madhes-based parties to join dialogue by withdrawing their protests, he warned of “legal measures” if their agitation turned anarchic. “The rights and concerns of all will be secured in the constitution,” the PM said. UML Chairman Oli alleged that some extremist forces were making efforts to derail the statute drafting process but they would be defeated. “Since the constitution is a document of compromise, it is not possible to incorporate the demands of all,” said Oli.
Maoist Chairman Dahal said some forces were trying to sabotage the constitution finalisation process that has already gained momentum. Hinting at the breakaway Maoist party led by
Mohan Baidya and some Madhes-based parties, Dahal said it was the same forces who protested against the 11-province model in the first CA who now oppose the six provinces.
He said the activities of some forces were suspicious; they could be trying to
dissolve the CA to abort the constitution.
Dahal, however, said the protests in Karnali, Mid West and Tharu strongholds were spontaneous. “We are firm on the six-state model but the concerns raised by the people should be addressed,” he said.
MFJ-Loktantrik Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar is facing harsh criticism from his own party and Madhes-based parties for not taking a firm stance in favour of a Tharu province. He told the House that he still favoured eight provinces and it would be impossible to implement the constitution without recognising the identity of the Tharus.
Gachhadar said he had signed the agreement believing that the country is above all. He stands for a separate province comprising Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Udaypur and Saptari districts to address the aspirations of the Tharus. He, however, added that the document addresses the concerns of the Madhesi people.
The Constitution Drafting Committee began its work on Thursday. A meeting of the CDC formed a taskforce led by Chairman Krishna Prasad Sitaula to prepare the Constitution Bill.
Speaking to the Post, PDCC Chairman Baburam Bhattarai said they are working to bring out the new constitution by the end of this month—before the Nepali Congress engages in its general convention.
According to him, the dispute over religion still remains unresolved. “I firmly believe that secularism should be continued in the constitution but some top leaders want to change it,” he said, asserting that it is impossible to change secularism as it is a major achievement of the past decade.