Modi asks leaders to make statute drafting inclusive

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, Kathmandu

Aug 4, 2014-

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advised Nepali leaders to take a broader and inclusive approach to drafting a new federal republican constitution.

In separate meetings with the leaders of Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based parties at Hyatt Regency in the Capital, the Indian PM said that the new constitution should glue Himal, Pahad and Tarai together.

In his meeting with the leaders of the three largest political parties, Modi advised making the constitution-drafting process broader by

bringing all the parties in a consensus.

While meeting the leaders of Madhes-based parties together, he asked them to think at the national level, not just about a particular region of the country.

According to leaders, Modi’s message was clear: only a federal republican constitution paves the way for economic prosperity and national development.

The Indian PM reiterated that any decision that Nepali leaders take on the constitution drafting process is acceptable to India. Leaders read this as a positive gesture that India would not interference in Nepal’s domestic affairs.

Cross-party leaders said Modi did not talk about specific agendas but discussed broadly the ongoing political process, development and ties between the two neighbours.

He gave a message that India is ever ready to help Nepal, noting that Nepal will tread on the path of economic prosperity when the peace and constitution drafting process concludes.

Leaders appreciated Modi’s parliamentary address and his commitment to federalism and republicanism. UCPN (Maoist) leader Baburam Bhattarai said they hail Modi’s strong commitment to federalism, republicanism and early conclusion of the peace and statute drafting

process.

Major party leaders also assured Modi that a power trade agreement (PTA) will be signed with India as soon as possible. The PTA did not materialise due to the lack of consensus among the political parties.

Modi asked a team of NC and UML leaders to focus on constitution by forging broader consensus among the parties. The two parties assured that the constitution would be readied in the next six months as the tasks were being accomplished as per the calendar. Modi assured full support for concluding the peace and constitution drafting process, said NC Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel.

In the meeting with UCPN (Maoist), Modi appreciated the role played by UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal in concluding the peace process. Maoist leaders expressed their pleasure at India’s initiative for building relations between the two parties at the political level.

“We have concluded that a new chapter has begun in Nepal-India relations,” Dahal said after the meeting. Maoist leaders expressed their desire for Nepal to be a vibrant bridge between India and China.

Regional parties sought Indian support for ending the “years-long exploitation against Madhes” and providing rights to the plains in the new constitution. They also asked for more India-funded development projects and assistance in the Tarai. Madhes-based parties rued that more resource had been allocated to the hilly region.

According to Madhesi leaders, Modi told them that he favours addressing Nepal as a whole, not a particular region or area.

“Modi suggested bridging the gap between the Tarai and the Hills for Nepal’s development,” Madhesi leader JP Gupta wrote on Facebook after the meeting. According to him, Modi said no community should feel discriminated in the new constitution.

Modi also met Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal Chairman Kamal Thapa, who reportedly voiced his dissatisfaction at Modi’s commitment to republicanism and federalism. According to a statement issued by his party, Thapa asked Modi to remain neutral on Nepal’s political issues as the country is writing its constitution.

 

modi’s advice

- Constitution should glue Himal, Pahad and Tarai together

- Bring all the parties in consensus to ensure broader participation

- Think at the national level, not just about particular region

- Conclude constitution drafting and peace building for economic prosperity

 

Published: 05-08-2014 10:35

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