RAM KUMAR KAMAT / PRAKASH ACHARYA
KATHMANDU: The major political forces today set out two strategies — continue efforts to forge consensus on major issues including 78 unsettled questions on federalism and to send 30 undecided issues to the Constituent Assembly (CA) for voting.
After a series of intra and inter-party meetings failed to forge consensus on the issue of name and boundaries of federal entities, a meeting of UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Madhesi Democratic Front decided to pursue the twin strategy.
“We want major questions of federalism and forms of governance to be decided through consensus. However, we will send other issues to the CA for voting,” said Congress leader Ram Chandra Paudel.
A meeting of the Problem Resolution Sub-Committee, held after the four-forces met, decided to send 30 of the 117 unresolved issues of the constitution to the Constitutional Committee (CC), which will send them to the CA for voting.
“The Sub-Committee meeting to be held tomorrow will arrange 16 questions which were agreed upon and 14 unsettled questions, except issues of federalism, into two categories and submit them at tomorrow’s CC meeting,” said sub-committee member and UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal. Any of the 30 questions, which are not approved unanimously by the CC, will be sent to the CA full house as per the existing CA rule.
Although the major forces seem to have agreed on 11 pradeshes, the issue of single ethnic identity versus multiple ethnic identity based federalism remains contentious.
NC rejected the idea of single identity because it could lead to ethnic conflicts. Tamuwan Pradesh (as advocated by Maoists) could be named Tamu-Magarat-Gandaki to reflect multiple identities. The issue of names could be decided through referendum if the forces remained divided.
Maoist negotiator Barsha Man Pun said his party suggested giving common names to the pradeshes, where both identity of the dominant ethnic group and historical and geographical aspects of the pradeshes could be reflected.
Pun said Newa Pradesh could be named Newa plus Nepal Mandal and similar names could be given to other pradeshes. “Common names can reflect multiple identities but they (NC and UML) did not agree.”
Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said his party proposed that the issue of full boundaries of the federal units could be resolved thorough “Federal Boundary Commission” after the new statute is promulgated.
Sadbhavana Party lawmaker Laxaman Lal Karna said tomorrow’s sub-committee meeting would prepare objective questions for voting.
What’s done and what’s left to be done
• Forms of governance
• Election system
• Strength of Pradesh Sabhas
• Women, classes, region,
• Unamendable issues of the new constitution
• Retroactive law against
culprits of crime against
humanity, war crime and genocide
• Property ceiling
• Ambassadorial appointment
• Name to be given to the new constitution.