NC leaders for referendum to settle state dispute

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Feb 25, 2015-

Senior Nepali Congress (NC) leaders have suggested conducting localised referendum to settle down the dispute on federalism. At the last day of the party’s Central Working Committee meeting on Wednesday, NC leaders, including former Sher Bahadur Deuba, made such a proposition to speed up the constitution writing process.

Delineation of five Tarai districts—Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Kailali and Kanchanpur—has become the sticking point of state restructuring among the parties. The debate centres around whether to split these five districts and whether these districts should be part of Hill or Tarai.

“We have to accept people’s verdict, so let’s go for referendum to settle the dispute. Let the people decide,” Deuba said in the meeting. His idea was seconded by several other leaders, including Krishna Prasad Situala and Gagan Thapa. “The final authority on such crucial matter lies on the people,” Thapa said.

At the meeting, NC President and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala asserted that he will not surrender before the UCPN (Maoist) and reiterated that the new constitution will be promulgated by the NC-led government.

 “I will leave the chair once the constitution is promulgated,” he said and admitted to his failure to run the government and the party effectively. He also sought the support from his party leaders until the new statute is issued. Besides discussing the constitution drafting process , the meeting also discussed power-dynamics inside the NC. A senior party leader said that friction between the Koirala and the Deuba factions will continue as the issue of active membership is likely to instigate fresh debate between the two sides. “Polarisation is inevitable until the two factions settle the row over active membership,” Thapa said. Prakash Sharan Mahat, a close aide to Deuba, claimed that some district party presidents from the Koirala faction were attempting to distribute active membership to their loyalists. “We have protested such move in the meeting. The establishment faction has assured that such mistake would not be repeated,” he said. The Deuba faction has demanded that the distribution of the party’s active membership should be conducted in a transparent manner.

To elect the new leadership through the 13th General Assembly set to take place in September, NC is distributing active membership who will be eligible to pick the representatives from the village development to the district level. The representatives thus elected in turn will pick the new central leadership.       

Published: 26-02-2015 06:06

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