Morcha seeks firm NC commitmentMadhesi and Janajati leaders affiliated to the Sanghiya Gathabandan, an alliance of 29 parties,
Madhesi and Janajati leaders affiliated to the Sanghiya Gathabandan, an alliance of 29 parties, have demanded the Nepali Congress clarify its position on the disputed issues of the constitution following allegations from within the ruling coalition that the largest party in Parliament was partly responsible for the delay in the statute amendment.
Despite its written commitment to address the demands of the agitating parties during the formation of the CPN (Maoist Centre)-led government, the NC has not put forth any concrete proposal to resolve the dispute over the new constitution.
At a meeting on Wednesday with the Nepali Congress leadership, including party President Sher Bahadur Deuba, Gathabandan Coordinator Upendra Yadav urged the oldest party to play a more proactive role in the statute amendment process. Sources who were present at the meeting said Yadav had insisted that the amendment proposal should be tabled without further delay regardless of the CPN-UML’s support.
“There is the need of a broader agreement on the framework of constitution amendment among us [Gathabandan, NC and Maoist Centre] before seeking support of parties in the ruling coalition and those in the opposition. How can we expect others to support the amendment without a sense of agreement among ourselves?” Yadav asked the NC leadership.
Madhesi parties are getting disenchanted with the NC leadership for taking dubious stance on the constitution amendment. Though the NC has supported the need of amendment, most of the party top guns have been insisting on the need to take the UML on board before tabling the proposal.
The main opposition UML has not completely opposed the amendment but has said any changes to the charter should be justified. The UML has especially opposed the idea of redrawing the maps of federal boundaries—the bone of contention.
“Telling we cannot table amendment proposal without UML’s support is different way of saying we don’t want amendment. The UML has never been supportive of amendment. That’s why we need to replace the UML-led government with this government,” said Sanghiya Samajwadi Forum Nepal Co-chair Rajendra Shrestha, who was present at the meeting. The NC leadership was “very positive” about finding early solution of Madhes crisis, he added.
The Madhesi leaders said they decided to meet the NC leadership after Maoist leaders indirectly blamed the Congress leadership, including party President Deuba, for the current delays in registering the amendment proposal.
Deuba said that his party was fully committed to register the draft proposal at Parliament within the set deadline. He also informed the disgruntled leaders that he was working to form an informal committee to work on the disputed issues.
“Our party also wants an early solution to this problem. We will immediately form an informal taskforce to work on the details of constitution amendment,” NC leader Gopal Man Shrestha quoted Deuba as saying.
The Gathabandan allies still harbour suspicion towards the NC and Maoist Centre despite their repeated assurances to table the amendment proposal. In a recent conversation with the Post, Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahanta Thakur had said that they were tried with the major
parties’ insincerity. “The problem is they never say no to anything. But their words hardly translate into action,” Thakur said.