Nepali Congress central committee directs lawmakers to vote in favour of constitution amendmentThe government has registered a constitution amendment proposal to update the country’s map that includes Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura.
Nepali Congress’s Central Working Committee has directed party lawmakers to vote in favour of the proposal to amend the constitution to change the country’s map in the national emblem.
The government on May 22 registered the bill which seeks to amend Schedule 3 of the constitution—related to Article 9 (2)—to revise the coat-of-arms of Nepal as per the new political and administrative map released by the government two days earlier. The map includes the territories of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura, also claimed by India, within Nepal’s borders.
The main opposition party had convened the party’s central committee meeting to make its position clear on the amendment.
During the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to garner support for the bill, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba had said that his party was positive about the proposal to amend the constitution. However, he had said it had to be decided by the central committee, the second most powerful decision-making body of the main opposition.
When the meeting began, general secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka presented a proposal to direct the parliamentary party to vote in favour of the amendment bill, and it was endorsed unanimously. “The party will now stand in favour of the bill when it is put to voting,” said Min Bishwakarma, a central working committee member.
The bill needs to secure at least two-third of the votes in both Houses of Parliament for the constitution to be amended.
The ruling Nepal Communist Party lacks the numbers in the House of Representatives for it to get the bill endorsed single-handedly. But, in the Upper house it can do so as it holds 70 percent of seats.
With the main opposition deciding to support the bill, the government has enough numbers for the proposal to sail through Parliament.
The amendment bill that was scheduled to be presented before the House of Representatives on Wednesday, but was removed from agenda following a request from the Nepali Congress, which wanted to convene its central committee meeting to decide on the issue, according to ruling party leaders and officials at the parliament secretariat.
However, Congress said that was not the case and accused the ruling party of pointing the finger at the opposition for its failure to present the amendment bill before the House.
The government is now likely to present the bill before the House of Representative on Sunday. The probable agenda for its meeting includes the presentation of the bill before the House. The bill is to be published through mass media so that the members of the general public are aware of it. The House will start deliberations at least seven days after the bill is published.
The bill does not need to be put to vote for its presentation on Sunday. However, it needs to be endorsed by a simple majority before it can be put up for discussion.
During the meeting on Saturday, Congress leaders said that in addition to supporting the bill, the party should press the Oli government to opt for diplomatic dialogue with India to seek a permanent solution to the problem.
The party has also concluded that the government must demonstrate high diplomatic caliber while dealing with India.
“While amendment of the constitution is a milestone, it will be meaningless unless we get our land back,” Prakash Sharan Mahat, the party’s joint general secretary, told the Post.
Following the Indian government’s move to inaugurate a new road via Lipulekh on May 8, Nepal had handed over a protest note to the Indian ambassador saying that the road was built on Nepali territory. A day later, the Indian External Affairs Ministry stated that both sides will sit for talks once two societies and governments have successfully dealt with the challenge of Covid-19 emergency.
Nepal, however, has been in favour of holding talks without delay. In his interview with an Indian news channel on Saturday, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the border dispute with Nepal will be resolved through dialogue.
According to Bishwakarma, the meeting has also decided to demand the formation of a parliamentary committee to probe into the murder case in Rukum-West which has recived a lot of public attention.
On May 23, locals from Chaurjahari Municipality in Rukum (West) chased away a group of 19 people, including Navaraj BK of Jajarkot, who was to tie the knot with a girl from the Soti village, after they found out that the boy was from the Dalit community.
A day later, BK and his friend Tikaram Sunar, both of them Dalits, were found dead on the banks of the Bheri river. Body of Ganesh Budha was recovered on Monday while Sanju BK’s, 17, body was recovered on Wednesday. The search for Govinda Shahi, 17, who is still missing in the Bheri River, is ongoing.