NC not for retaining interim statute provisions: Shekhar

  • Says a majority of leaders are against naturalised citizens holding key posts
- SARIN GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Nov 8, 2016-

A majority of Nepali Congress leaders are not in favour of allowing naturalised citizens to hold top constitutional positions—President or the prime minister and the heads of constitutional bodies.

Though leaders speaking at the party’s Central Working Committee earlier this month had differing views over how to settle the demands of the Madhesi and Janajati forces to redraw the federal boundaries, almost all the leaders now have a united voice on citizenship and language issues, said NC leader Shekhar Koirala.

Amid reports of the government preparing a constitution amendment draft that would allow naturalised citizens to hold any government position after they spend 10 years in Nepal as permanent residents, Koirala noted that a majority of NC leaders were against the idea.

“It will by no means be acceptable to us. I am sure that those involved in preparing the statute amendment draft would not go beyond the mandate given to them while taking such a decision,” Koirala said.

The Interim Constitution had a similar provision on naturalised citizenship. “But we need to accept our mistake and correct it,” said Koirala, a lawmaker elected from Morang-7. NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba has assigned Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi and Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ramesh Lekhak from the party to work on the amendment proposal.

Koirala wants all to realise that naturalised citizens would only be the ones coming from India. He added that in a globalised world people could come here from the West, Europe, Africa or other Asian nations as well.

The NC is believed to have a soft stance on the working language of the provinces, another concern of the disgruntled forces. Koirala said that a mother tongue with a script used by a sizeable population should be given the status of national language.

“I don’t see any reason to deny official status for such languages to be used in the respective states. For example, in Madhes we will have Maithili, Urdu and Bhojpuri, among others, as national languages,” said Koirala.

He, however, rejected the idea of making Hindi an official language since it is not as common in the Tarai as perceived by many.

Published: 08-11-2016 07:44

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