Big three parties renew their call for dialogue

Kathmandu, September 19

The three major parties — Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Unified CPN-Maoist today renewed their call for dialogue with the agitating Madhesi and Tharu forces and parties that had boycotted the constitution making process.

“We can always amend the constitution to incorporate changes. We, therefore, urge all political parties and leaders who boycotted the constitution making process or who are outside the Constituent Assembly to come for a negotiated settlement of issues and participate in the celebration to be organised to mark the promulgation of the new constitution tomorrow,” the statement added.

NC President and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli and UCPN-M Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal jointly addressed a press conference at Baluwatar today requesting the agitating parties to come to the negotiating table. They said amendments were possible in the constitution to address the concerns of agitating forces. They said the constitution was a forward looking document and they were ready to make amendments with regard to the boundaries of provinces as per the recommendation of the Federal Commission to be formed.

They also said proportional inclusion would be incorporated in the right to social justice clause. “We are committed to the principle of proportional inclusion as guaranteed by the Interim Constitution,” the statement read. The parties said the provisions would be incorporated in the constitution to ensure at least one election constituency in each district and the remaining constituencies would be delineated on the basis of population. They said this constitution was a document of compromise but had enough space for changes.

The major parties thanked the neighbouring countries and the international community for their support in Nepal’s peace process and the constitution making process and expected them to welcome the new constitution. They urged the public to observe Dipawali to celebrate the commencement of the constitution. Responding to a query PM Koirala said amendments would be made in the constitution to modify it.

Oli said the major parties were ready to accommodate the concerns of agitating forces, but four to five per cent representatives must not think that forces commanding 95 per cent strength will accept all their demands. He, however, said amendments would not be accepted immediately. “It will depend how the disgruntled forces react,” Oli added. Dahal said most of the demands of Madhesis and Tharus had been addressed, including the issue of citizenship. He said the major parties had already pledged to delineate constituencies on the basis of population and ensure proportional inclusion and the Federal Commission to be formed would settle questions related to state boundaries. “I do not think they have any reason to continue their protest in the Tarai.”

Upendra Yadav, Chair of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, a constituent of United Democratic Madhesi Front, however, rejected the government offer saying they were ready for talks, but the government was still not preparing the ground for it. He said, the government must honour the eight-point agreement and withdraw the army and Armed Police Force from Tarai. Member of Tharuhat/Tharuwan Joint Struggle Committee Raj Kumar Lekhi termed the call for talks ‘a gimmick’. “We want past pacts implemented, but the big three are not committed. “Now only street power will decide the matter,” he said.