NC leaders smell foul play by CPN-UML

  • charter amendment
- SARIN GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Dec 8, 2016-

Two senior Nepali Congress leaders on Wednesday accused the main opposition CPN-UML of ‘playing foul’ in the government’s quest to amend the constitution for the second time.

NC leaders Ram Chandra Poudel and Bimalendra Nidhi both came down heavily against the UML leadership for disowning the government’s proposal which, according to them, was similar to the one the two parties had agreed upon earlier.

The government had registered a constitution amendment bill in Parliament on November 29 with an aim to convince the Madhes-based forces, who have been demanding amendments to the statute since its promulgation in September 2015.

Talking to reporters upon his return from a 10-day visit to Japan on Wednesday, Poudel denounced the UML for calling the amendment bill “anti-national”.

“The present amendment bill does not have anything so critical that it has to create so much commotion. It is a draft both the NC and UML had agreed upon once. It is 

UML’s immaturity to call it anti-national,” Poudel told reporters at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

Poudel urged the UML and the Madhes-based forces to act responsibly to resolve the 

current political impasse and implement the constitution. “If we do not amend the statute with a view to holding polls, where will the country head?” he said, calling on both the UML and Madhes-based forces to take the matter seriously.

Government’s proposal to realign Province 4 and 5 has been the most contentious issue of the amendment bill. The proposal suggests moving the Hill districts out of Province 5 and into Province 4, with an intention to make Province 5 a Madhes-only state. The government believes the proposed federal delineation addresses one of the demands put forth by the Madhes-based parties.

In 2014, the then ruling coalition of NC and UML had floated a proposal of seven-state model at a meeting of the Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee led by Baburam Bhattarai. Except for a small change in Nawalparasi district, the proposal suggested by the NC and UML at the time is quite similar to the current one. But the Madhes-based parties had rejected it. 

Two years on, the UML has outrightly rejected the almost identical proposal it had forwarded once. 

UML leaders claim that the current proposal on federal boundary tabled in Parliament by the ruling coalition was “anti-national”. 

They have accused the NC and the Maoist Centre of bringing a delineation amendment proposal with the intention to separate the people of the Hills from those in the Tarai.

Similarly, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Nidhi asserted that the current amendment bill was earlier proposed by the main opposition themselves. 

“I smell foul play by UML. This is the very draft proposal that UML Chair KP Oli had signed earlier,” Nidhi said, while talking to reporters in Bharatpur on Wednesday. 

“How is it that when he brings the proposal it is said to be a national one but now the same person terms the same proposal as anti-national?” he said, adding that the amendment bill would be passed at any cost. 

Published: 08-12-2016 08:24

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