Maoist, Cong, SLMM leaders for tabling bill

  • constitution amendment
- ROSHAN SEDHAI, Kathmandu
The parties have also decided to reach out to fringe forces to ensure two-thirds majority in Parliament

Jan 6, 2017-The governing CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM), an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, have agreed to table the constitution amendment bill in Parliament. 

At a meeting held between the governing parties and the SLMM held at Baluwatar on Thursday, they also agreed to reach out to fringe parties to ensure two-thirds majority in Parliament to get the amendment bill endorsed. 

The bill will be tabled in Parliament with the support of the Morcha, said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat after the meeting. “There has been an understanding between the Maoist Centre, the NC and the Morcha to table the amendment bill registered at the Parliament Secretariat,” the statement added. 

The statement, however, does not say when the bill will be tabled. 

The Madhes-based parties have also consented to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s proposal to start the process for holding local level elections after receiving the report of the Local Level Restructuring Commission, according to close aides to the prime minister. 

During the meeting, Morcha leaders urged PM Dahal and senior NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel to table the bill on Sunday when the House resumes. They also criticised the NC and Maoist Centre for postponing the parliamentary proceedings for a week “even after getting the green signal from the Supreme Court to forward the bill”. 

A division bench of Chief Justice Sushila Karki and Justice Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada on Monday refused to issue an interim order against forwarding the bill in Parliament for deliberations, arguing that such a move would infringe upon the 

principle of separation of powers and prevent the sovereign Parliament from using its wisdom in the legislation process. 

“The apex court ruling has proved that they (the UML-led opposition bloc) were wrong to obstruct parliamentary proceedings to stop the government from tabling the bill,” Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party General Secretary Sarbendra Nath Shukla told the Post after the meeting. “We should now let the House decide the fate of the bill.”

Congress and Maoist leaders are learnt to have told the Morcha that they were also in favour of tabling the bill as soon as possible. Senior NC leader Poudel said the SC’s ruling though has come in favour of the amendment, concerns remain about the amendment being revoked later. “The constitution necessitates the formation of state assemblies to alter the boundaries. There is a danger that the amendment might be revoked by the court later. That’s why we decided to postpone the House for a week so that we could work to build consensus,” a leader present in the meeting quoted Poudel as saying. 

For the governing parties, ensuring two-thirds majority in Parliament to get the bill endorsed won’t be a cakewalk though. The main opposition CPN-UML which has upped the ante is in bid to fail the bill by ensuring 200 votes in Parliament. 

The NC and the Maoist Centre have to seek favour from the Rastriya Prajantantra Party and the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik to ensure 396 votes in the 594-strong Parliament to get the bill endorsed.

At least two parliamentarians—NC’s Chandra Bhandari and Maoist Centre’s Top Bahadur Rayamajhi—have already said that they would vote against the amendment bill, and a dozen more could also do so. 

Published: 06-01-2017 08:01

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