House to discuss constitutional amendment to update map after national consensusAs the issue concerns a matter of national importance, the ruling party had sought all-party consensus on the amendment to update the country’s map on the national emblem.
Discussions to amend the constitution to update the country’s map in Parliament have been delayed by some time as parties have decided to seek national consensus on the matter.
The government had registered an amendment proposal in Parliament on May 22 after releasing a new political map of Nepal depicting Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limipiyadhura as its territories on May 18. The map was released in response to New Delhi opening a road to link India via Lipulekh with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.
The government’s decision to release its own map by including Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limipiyadhura, which are disputed with India, has placed Kathmandu and New Delhi in a state of “cartographic war”, with both countries putting out maps that claim the same areas.
Though analysts, politicians and large sections of the public have all hailed the release of the new map, many have stressed that the government needs to simultaneously pursue diplomatic talks and find an amicable solution to the long-standing boundary dispute.
As per an earlier plan, the constitution amendment proposal was to be tabled at Parliament on Tuesday.
A leader said it could not be tabled on Tuesday as the prime minister wanted to hold an all-party meeting to discuss the matter.
As a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority vote, the prime minister had called a meeting of all the political parties represented in the House of Representative on Tuesday.
The ruling Nepal Communist Party commands a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, but it needs support from other parties to get the constitution amendment proposal through the Lower House, as it falls short of around 10 seats.
With an amendment proposal registered, the Samajbadi Party Nepal and the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, the third and fourth largest parties in Parliament, had seized the opportunity to demand that their calls for amendments to the constitution also be incorporated. They had sought support from the Nepali Congress for the same.
The Congress, which has supported the government’s move of releasing the new map, however, has said the constitution amendment proposal needs discussion in the party.
“We support the territorial integrity of the country and we also support the government’s release of the map,” Krishna Prasad Situala, a Nepali Congress leader, told the Post. “But a decision on the amendment to update the map will be made at the forthcoming Central Working Committee meeting. So we requested that the amendment be put on hold for the time being.”
Amid rising tensions, according to leaders, Oli wanted to seek other parties’ views on the constitutional amendment. He called the all-party meeting to forge national consensus before moving the amendment proposal forward.
Sitaula, who accompanied Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba to the all-party meeting, said that the party will soon call a meeting of the Central Working Committee and take a decision.
At the meeting, Deuba also asked that the government accommodate the voices of those, including the Samajbadi Party and Rastriya Janata Party, who have long been calling for amending the constitution.
The Congress party, according to Sitaula, made a position that those who have been left out, despite their calls for charter revision, should also be accommodated when the government amends the constitution.
As the prime minister is looking for national consensus, no one should be left out, reads the statement that Deuba presented at the meeting.
Ruling party chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, however, urged everyone not to mix the agenda of national territory with their political demands.
According to one party leader, Oli said that other demands can be discussed later and called for support in amending the constitution to ensure territorial integrity.
‘The amendment process, however, will be on hold for the time being,” said the leader.