Parties at odds as NC, UML push for 6-7 states

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Parties at odds as NC, UML push for 6-7 states

Aug 3, 2015-

Even as the major parties are engaged in serious discussions over delineation, the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have proposed revising the numbers of federal units to 6-7 from eight provinces as mentioned in the 16-point deal. 

The four parties have been exploring ways to promulgate the new constitution by delineating federal units following pressure from President Ram Baran Yadav, disgruntled forces as well as the public to resolve the delineation issue.

During a meeting on Monday, the ruling alliance said the numbers of federal units should be revised as the country could not sustain more than 6-7 provinces. 

According to a leader present in the meeting, Nepali Congress Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel and CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli had initially tabled a proposal of 5-6 province model before suggesting 6-7 province. Poudel had opposed the eight province model at the time of signing of the 16-point deal. 

On demarcation, the ruling parties are said to be ready to make slight changes to their previous position but are against adopting the ethnic lines.

The UCPN (Maoist) has, however, insisted that the parties should focus on delineation of the federal units rather than holding discussions on their numbers. 

The discussed centred around the dispute of state restructuring over five districts—Kailali and Kanchanpur in the Far-West and Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari in the East. Top leaders of the major parties discussed several options on delineation throughout Monday, but substantive talks  on resolving the issue remained elusive till late evening. “Actually, NC and UML have not prepared a map of eight provinces which has created problems,” said Maoist Chief Whip Giriraj Mani Pokhrel. 

Chairman of the Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee (PDCC) Baburam Bhattarai said that the committee had postponed its meeting to aid the top leaders reach a consensus on contentious issues. But he maintained that the parties would forge consensus within a couple of days and the constitution would be promulgate by mid-August. 

The NC and the UCPN (Maoist) are in favour of delineation of federal units before the constitution promulgation and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik led by Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar has since joined the bandwagon following intense pressure from some Madhes-based parties. 

The CPN-UML and some fringe parties say it is a ploy of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to stay in power till the general convention. UML leaders have threatened to withdraw its support to the Koirala-led government if he does not promulgate the constitution within August 16. 

Yet, UML leader KP Oli said that the new constitution would be promulgated within August 16, without providing details. Speaking at a programme, Oli said that he is not in hurry of becoming the prime minister of the country. Oli said parties are committed to promulgate a new constitution with delineation. 

Senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba on his return from New Delhi on Monday said India, insisting on a broader consensus for constitution promulgation, had suggested taking the disgruntled parties on board the constitution drafting process.

Published: 04-08-2015 08:19

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