Govt vacillates as Morcha remains non-committal

  • Constitution amendment
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Nov 27, 2016-

The government though has readied the constitution amendment proposal, it is dithering over its plan to register it in Parliament as the Madhes-based parties continue to remain non-committal about participating in the elections. 

The governing parties’ concern is the whole purpose of amendment proposal will be defeated if the Madhes-based parties refuse to take ownership of it. 

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said the amendment proposal will lose its significance if all the Madhesi forces do not express their commitment to take part in the elections, according the PM’s aides.

During a meeting between the governing parties and the Madhes-based parties on Wednesday, all but Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal (SSF-N) had expressed readiness to take ownership of the amendment proposal but were non-committal about participating in the elections. 

The SSF-N, a key constituent of the Samyukta Lotktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) which is an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, has already said it will disown the amendment proposal if “it fails to address all the concerned of the agitating forces in entirety”. 

PM Dahal’s Chief Political Adviser Chakrapani Khanal said the government would once again hold talks with SSF-N Chairman Upendra Yadav, who is also the coordinator of the Sanghiya Gathabandhan, a coalition of the SLMM and Janajati forces. “And the government will also hold talks with the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and other fringe forces,” said Khanal. “So it may take a few more days to register the amendment proposal in Parliament.”

The RPP, now after merger, has 37 seats in Parliament. 

“While Yadav has objected to the amendment proposal, other Morcha constituents are still undecided about supporting it in Parliament,” said CPN (Maoist Centre) leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha. “I don’t think the government will register the 

amendment proposal until it gets a firm commitment from the Morcha [on participating in the elections],” said Shrestha. “We will hold discussions with the RPP and other fringe parties besides talking with Morcha leaders. And then we will sit with the Nepali Congress to discuss the next move if the Morcha refuses to express its commitment.”

During Friday’s meeting of the governing parties, leaders had decided to make a last ditch effort to appease the main opposition and get commitment from the Morcha.

The main opposition CPN-UML which has taken a hard stance on amendment proposal, has already announced protests in the streets and Parliament and said “it will do all that requires to block the proposal in Parliament”. 

On Saturday, a meeting of the Maoist Centre headquarters also decided to seek commitment from the Morcha on elections before registering the amendment proposal.

“Why should we go for the amendment proposal if the concerned parties are not ready take ownership of it?” Khanal wondered. 

Published: 27-11-2016 08:02

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