‘Flexible’ UML throws ball in Morcha’s court

  • constitution amendment
  • To agree on putting the bill in process only if agitating parties are ready to accept the outcome of voting
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu
The meeting was very positive. The constitution amendment bill will move ahead from todayPM Dahal to media after all-party meeting

Feb 22, 2017-The CPN-UML has hinted that it will not object to taking the constitution amendment bill to voting if the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) is ready to accept the outcome. 

During an all-party meeting on Tuesday, a day after the government announced local level elections for May 14, called by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the UML said the government must ensure that the agitating parties will accept the outcome of the voting on constitution amendment bill for the main opposition to let the government put the bill in due parliamentary process. 

PM Dahal had called the meeting to discuss local level elections, Local Level Restructuring Commission report and its revision and the constitution amendment bill. 

The Morcha, an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, however, boycotted the meeting, in objection to the government decision to announce local level elections breaking its commitment that it would amend the constitution before declaring the poll date.  

PM Dahal’s request to the UML to support the government in constitution amendment was rejected outright by UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli. 

Earlier, the UML had hinted that it could consider letting the government put the constitution amendment bill in parliamentary process if it declares the date for local level election. 

The UML has called a meeting of the nine parties in opposition on Wednesday to discuss whether to allow the government to put the constitution amendment bill to voting. 

The opposition bloc of nine parties led by the UML has been objecting to the constitution amendment bill since it was registered at the Parliament Secretariat on November 29, saying that it is against national interest. 

Though the UML stood against statute amendment, PM Dahal described Tuesday’s meeting as “very positive”. 

 “The meeting was very positive. The constitution amendment bill will move ahead from tomorrow (Wednesday),” PM Dahal told the media after the meeting. 

Leaders who were present at the meeting, however, said that there was heated exchange of words between Oli and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba over constitution amendment. 

“This is undemocratic. Those obstructing parliamentary process can’t call themselves democratic parties,” a leader present in the meeting quoted Deuba as saying. 

In return Oli asked Deuba whether the latter can ensure that the Madhes-based parties will accept the outcome of the voting. 

At meeting of Business Advisory Committee meeting of Parliament earlier in the day, leaders of the Madhes-based parties had pressed for ensuring endorsement of the constitution amendment bill in the House. 

The House meeting scheduled for Tuesday was postponed after the UML and Morcha constituents had differing opinions over incorporating the constitution amendment bill into the House agenda.

The Morcha demanded immediate start of discussion on the amendment bill but the UML stood against it. 

The nine-party opposition bloc is learnt to have been waiting for Rastriya Prajatantra Party’s response. If the RPP decides to vote against, the constitution amendment bill will fail in Parliament. 

NC President Deuba told the media after Tuesday’s meeting that the Madhes-based parties would participate in the local level elections once the constitution amendment bill enters due parliamentary process. “I am also hopeful that the UML will support the amendment,” he said. 

Published: 22-02-2017 07:49

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