Gathabandhan’s stance dims bill tabling chanceMadhesi and Janajati parties have declined Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s request to support the constitution amendment bill, creating more confusion over its registration in Parliament.
Madhesi and Janajati parties have declined Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s request to support the constitution amendment bill, creating more confusion over its registration in Parliament.
A meeting of the parties affiliated to the Sanghiya Gathabandhan on Monday decided to make its stance clear—whether to support or oppose the proposal—only after “studying the final draft” after it enters Parliament.
“We will make our views public only after seeing the final draft once it is tabled in Parliament,” said Rajendra Shrestha of the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal (SSF-N). “We will decide later whether to support it or oppose it.”
There are seven Madhes-based parties, which have formed an alliance called the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM), and Janajati forces under the Gathabandhan.
SSF-N’s Chairman Upendra Yadav is the coordinator of the Gathabandhan.
Among the Morcha constituents, SSF-N has taken a strong stance against the government-prepared amendment bill, while other Morcha forces earlier had said they might support it though they “have some reservations”.
The government is also seeking commitment from the Morcha that it will participate in the elections after the amendment bill is registered in Parliament. The Morcha, however, has remained non-committal so far.
While the agitating forces have not said clearly whether they would support or reject the proposal, they are pressing the government to table the proposal in Parliament at the earliest. As a result, the government seems to have fallen between two stools.
After Monday’s meeting, Gathabandhan leaders warned of resuming protests “if the government fails to table the proposal within next few days”.
The Gathabandhan had served a 15-day ultimatum to the government to register the proposal. The deadline ended on Sunday.
Gathabandhan’s announcement to resume protests on Monday came hours after Yadav’s meeting with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. During the meeting, Yadav had asked PM Dahal to register the proposal without delay, according to sources.
“Yadav told PM Dahal that the Gathabandhan would acknowledge the issues that would be addressed through the amendment with reservations,” they said. “We have reservations on several issues but that doesn’t mean we will oppose everything,” a leader quoted Yadav as telling PM Dahal.
Yadav’s party, SSF-N, has particularly objected to the government’s proposal to carve out another province along western plains by splitting Province 5. Its leaders insist that the government should rather pursue the 10-province model based on the recommendations of the State Restructuring Commission.
Though Yadav and his party have been repeatedly warning of launching protests, other Madhesi parties say chances of protests are slim.
“There has been some notable progress in resolving some contentious issues through constant negotiations. We are hoping to sort out the remaining differences through continuous engagement with the CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress. We have not thought about going back to the streets,” said a senior leader of the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party, one of the constituents of the Morcha.
Don’t act in haste: Prez
KATHMANDU: President Bidya Devi Bhandari has urged top leaders of three major parties not to act in haste and seek consensus among them regarding amendment to the constitution. Prime Minister and Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli on Monday evening had called on President Bhandari. Sources at the Office of the President claimed that Bhandari urged the top leaders to focus on elections. She also sought to know whether the government-prepared amendment proposal would resolve the existing crisis. Dahal and Deuba apprised Bhandari of efforts to convince the Madhes-based forces and parties in opposition. Earlier, Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav also called on the President. Yadav informed the President that the government-prepared bill “does not address agitating forces’ demands”, said a leader of the SSF-N, adding that he also requeted the President to convince the UML to agree to amend the constitution. (PR)