Province ministers divided on whether to celebrate Constitution Day or protest itRJP-N leaders are protesting against the constitution as it does not incorporate the rights of Madhesis, Janjatis, women, Muslims and Dalits.
Cabinet ministers and lawmakers of Province 2 are divided on whether they should celebrate the upcoming Constitution Day or protest it by terming the day as ‘black day’.
While leaders of the ruling Samajbadi Party Nepal (SPN) are organising various programmes to mark Constitution Day, with the chief minister, ministers, lawmakers, the people’s representatives and government officials scheduled to attend different functions organised to mark the day, the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) is organising a protest programme on the day.
The country is observing Constitution Day on Friday to commemorate the historic day when the present constitution of Nepal was promulgated in 2015. The federal government has declared the day a public holiday to mark the national day.
Meanwhile, the provincial government has set a three-day programme—including various interaction programmes and rallies—to celebrate the occasion starting Wednesday. Chief Minister Mohammad Lalbabu Raut is also scheduled to attend the functions.
The provincial government has also urged all Cabinet ministers and lawmakers to attend the programmes organised. Ministers representing SPN have also been publicly saying that all ministers must attend the functions to observe Constitution Day. However, the ministers representing the RJP-N have stated they will be boycotting all the functions, and will instead be protesting.
There are 25 RJP-N lawmakers in the 107-member assembly of Province 2. Three ministers, three state ministers and a speaker were appointed from the RJP-N.
Province 2 Minister for Financial Affairs Bijaya Yadav said that those ministers who do not attend the functions and ignore the Cabinet’s decision do not deserve to hold their posts.
However, State Minister for Industry, Tourism, Forest and Environment Suresh Mandal said he would not attend the function organised by the provincial government on the Constitution Day. “Bullets were fired against Madhesis when the constitution was promulgated. While others were celebrating the promulgation of the constitution, we were attending funerals,” Mandal told the Post, adding that he as well his party RJP-N were protesting against the constitution as it did not incorporate rights of the Madhesi, Janjati, women, Muslim and Dalit populations.
Political analyst Bijaya Prasad Mishra, who is an expert on Madhes politics, said that it did not look good on the part of the government officials to protest the constitution. “RJP-N leaders had reached a consensus and then formed the constitution,” said Mishra. “If they are against particular articles and provisions then it would be okay, but it is wrong to protest the whole constitution.”
Last year too the provincial government’s ministers, lawmakers and the people’s representatives of the local units had joined an anti-constitution rally, which had invited a lot of criticism.