NC, UML Janajati MPs say ‘no’ caucus

  • Argue caucuses redundant when there are other forums to voice agenda
- BHADRA SHARMA, Kathmandu
NC, UML Janajati MPs say ‘no’ caucus

Sep 21, 2014-

Janajati lawmakers from the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML have refused to be part of the Janajati caucus that some indigenous Constituent Assembly members are effortful to form, arguing that the forum complicates the constitution-writing process further.

The response from the two ruling parties comes on the heels of the initiative of some fringe party leaders to form a Janajati caucus in the CA to press their demands for ensuring federalism and rights of minorities in the new constitution in view of the fast approaching statute promulgation deadline.

Ethnic lawmakers from the ruling parties who attended pre-discussion meetings have expressed their inability to join the forum.

“There are enough forums within the CA to raise our voice. Besides, we can discuss the agendas in our party,” said UML lawmaker Gokul Ghatri.

The CA regulations require lawmakers to inform the party before participating in any such forum within the CA. UML Janajati lawmakers are more rigid about it. They argue that there is no need for the caucus as they have no bar to raise the issues of indigenous nationalities in other forums such as the party, constitutional committees and inter-party discussions.

“We have yet to discuss in our party whether to join the caucus,” said NC lawmaker Bahadur Singh Lama, who attended the meeting of indigenous lawmakers.

Sources privy to the development said the ruling parties have informally instructed the lawmakers not to join the caucus this time around. During the first CA, caucuses were blamed largely for the failure of the Assembly to deliver the constitution within four years. Lawmakers elected under the proportional representation category are also reportedly warned against participating in the caucus.

During the drafting of the CA regulations, NC and UML were against caucuses. The parties later agreed to caucuses that the MPs could form with consent from their respective parties. The UCPN (Maoist) and smaller parties advocating identity-based politics had stood for caucus.

The ruling coalition favours multiple identity-based federalism, contrary to the UCPN (Maoist), the Federal Socialist Party-Nepal and regional parties that press identity as the basis for federalising the country. RK Khambhu of Khambuwan National Forum, one of the campaigners of the caucus, said they will take a crucial decision on Monday. The meeting would decide on the participation of the NC and UML lawmakers.

Lawmakers from Maoist and other forces fear the ruling parties may backtrack on earlier agreements while drafting the constitution.

Published: 22-09-2014 09:38

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