Bhattarai, Poudel spar on state restructuring model

- ANAND GURUNG, Kathmandu
Bhattarai, Poudel spar on state restructuring model

May 30, 2014-

The modality of state restructuring is likely to be the major bone of contention in the new Constituent Assembly (CA) as well with the top leaders of Nepali Congress and UCPN (Maoist) getting into a heated debate during Friday’s deliberation on the subject.

UCPN (Maoist) senior leader Baburam Bhattarai, also the chairman of the CA Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee, said the unitary model, which was built under the command of King Prithivi Narayan Shah out of small principalities by defeating them in wars, must be dissolved in favour of federal setup.  

Noting that the demand made by one section for carving out provinces even for small ethnic minorities and the call of the other section for eschewing federal model based on ethnicity are both extreme viewpoints, Bhattarai recommended that the country should try to find a middle ground on federalism.  He added that economic viability and identity should have equal roles in defining Nepal’s federal system.  

Responding to Bhattarai’s view, NC Vice Chairman Ram Chandra Poudel said the nation cannot afford to waste its vital time weighing the pros and cons of dividing Nepal into small principalities in the name of federating the country.

Poudel accused Bhattarai of confusing the issue of identity in the federal discourse with dividing Nepal into ethnic states.

“Rather than changing the map of the country by demarcating the country along ethnic lines, let’s focus on changing the nature of the state,” he said.

The NC vice-chairman added that delimiting the country along ethnic lines would only invite trouble and divide the country.

Poudel recommended taking a pragmatic approach to resolve the contentious issue on federal setup.   

The CA began discussion on the contentious issues of state restructuring and distribution of state powers from Thursday. The discussion on the reports prepared by the Committee to Study and Determine Constitutional Records and the High-level State Restructuring Commi-ssion will continue on Sunday as well. 

Published: 31-05-2014 08:35

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