‘Govt leading nation towards confrontation’

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Jan 1, 2017-

With the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Madhesi Morcha set to push the constitution amendment proposal through Parliament, the main opposition CPN-UML has accused the government of leading the country towards confrontation.

The UML said it would bar the amendment bill from landing in the House and obstruct the parliamentary process if the government forcibly tried to table it. UML Secretary Pradip Gyawali told the Post that the government was preparing to push the country towards confrontation by pressing ahead with constitution amendment in Parliament instead of negotiating with the opposition parties.

The opposition, including eight smaller parties, has been obstructing parliamentary proceedings ever since the amendment bill was registered in the Parliament Secretariat on November 29, claiming it to be against “national interests”. Another UML Secretary Prithvi Subba Gurung said the opposition parties had been preventing discussion on the amendment proposal despite knowledge that it would not get endorsed as that would open the Pandora’s Box. “We don’t want this discussion to set the precedent for many such amendments to follow,” Gurung said, adding that his party was busy with preparations for the mass meeting scheduled for January 6.

Though Subas Nembang, deputy leader of the UML Parliamentary Party, claimed that the party has not changed its stance, some UML leaders said the party is ready to discuss issues other than provincial boundaries if the government separates them.

“Since the issue of demarcation requires the approval of Provincial Assembly, that cannot be tabled in Parliament,” he said.

UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli said the amendment proposal had a “hidden” motive of establishing dual nationalism in the Tarai and the Hills, aimed at ultimately dividing the hitherto “harmonious” Nepali society.

Issuing a public appeal for participation in the mass protest against the constitution amendment proposal in the Capital on January 6, the former prime minister said the attempt to change the composition of the National Assembly would upset a balanced representation of provinces.

The nine opposition parties have 201 votes when they need 198 to garner one-third votes necessary for rejecting the amendment proposal. The government needs a two-thirds majority of the 594-strong Parliament to endorse the bill.

The ruling alliance currently has 324 lawmakers on its side, counting in some Madhes-based parties that are likely to vote for amendment with some reservations. The Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) and the CPN (Unified), with a total of 69 lawmakers, support the ruling alliance but remain undecided on the amendment issue.

Published: 01-01-2017 07:47

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