Govt set to table bill today, oppn refuses to budge

  • constitution amendment
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Jan 8, 2017-Confusion continues to loom over tabling of the constitution amendment bill with the governing coalition saying it will take the bill to Parliament on Sunday and the opposition bloc maintaining its earlier stance that it will block it from entering the House. 

A standing committee meeting of the CPN-UML, which is leading a nine-party alliance of opposition parties in Parliament, held at party Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam’s residence on Saturday decided not to let the government table the constitution amendment bill in Parliament. 

“As per Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, the government should refrain from pushing the amendment bill,” Subas Nembang, deputy leader of UML’s Parliamentary Party, told the Post. Nembang said that the government was yet to consult the opposition parties regarding the amendment bill and its plan to table it in Parliament. “Where is politics of consensus?” he wondered. 

Another UML leader warned that the governing parties should be ready to face the consequences if they keep on threatening the opposition. “The UML is not in a position to let government table the constitution bill,” said Bhanubhakta Dhakal, chief whip of the UML.

The governing parties--the CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress (NC)--during their meeting with the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) on Thursday had reached an understanding that the government would table the bill on Sunday.

While launching a book in the Capital on Saturday, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal also said that the government would table the bill on Sunday. 

On Friday only, nine opposition parties led by the UML had organised a mass meeting in the Capital in a show of strength against the constitution amendment bill. 

Whether the House will be able to convene its meeting on Sunday will depend on a 

meeting of the nine opposition parties that has been called for 9am. 

Asked what will be the opposition parties’ next step and whether they will obstruct the House again, Nembang said, “We will take a decision at 9 am on Sunday after a meeting of nine opposition parties. As far as the governing parties are concerned, they have not reached out to the opposition forces.”

Speaker Onsari Gharti had told reporters on Tuesday that the House meeting was postponed until Sunday after “UML leaders assured that they won’t obstruct Parliament when it sits the next time”.

Though the UML is asking the government not to table the charter amendment bill, arguing that the apex court has said so in its ruling, the governing parties have their own interpretation of the court judgment, as they are saying it has rather paved the way for tabling the bill. 

Even if the government tables the bill on Sunday, getting it endorsed in Parliament will not be a cakewalk, as the ruling coalition must ensure 396 votes in favour in the 594-strong House.

With the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (37 lawmakers) and the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik (14 lawmakers) not in mood to support the statute amendment, the governing coalition is likely to fall far short of two-thirds majority.

For the opposition bloc, on the other hand, getting 200 lawmakers on its side to fail the amendment bill looks rather easy. 

While addressing the opposition parties’ mass meeting in the Capital on Friday, UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli had said that his party would not let the House “endorse the amendment bill”.

Published: 08-01-2017 07:11

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