KATHMANDU: Constituent Assembly members on Monday  said the dispute over names and boundaries of federal units should be resolved before promulgating the new constitution. At least boundaries should be demarcated in the new statute, they said while taking part in discussion on the first draft of the new constitution on Monday's CA meeting.

The first draft has mentioned that state assemblies will determine the names of the states, while the Parliament will decide the boundaries on the recommendation of a federal commission within six months of the promulgation of the new constitution.

The proposed commission should be formed immediately and boundaries of states demarcated before new statute

— Bimalendra Nidhi, NC leader

NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi said, “The new constitution should not be promulgated without demarcating boundaries of federal units.” He said the proposed commission should be formed immediately and boundaries of the federal units should be demarcated as per its report before delivering the new constitution. “Forming of the commission after promulgating the new constitution will be meaningless,” Nidhi, who is also Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation, said.

Backing the interim order of the Supreme Court issued on June 19, Nidhi said the order didn’t intervene in the jurisdiction of the CA, rather it clarified the CA’s jurisdiction.

Nidhi said those holding naturalised citizenship should not be barred from holding top posts of President, prime minister, speaker and chief justice as mentioned in the first draft. “All citizens should have equal access to top posts,” Nidhi said.

Other NC members — Nabindra Raj Joshi, Radheshyam Adhikari, Chandrakanta Bhandari and Chandra Mohan Yadav — also opined that the issue of boundaries should be settled prior to promulgating the new constitution.

CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal said, “The new constitution should be delivered through maximum consensus, as complete consensus is not possible.” Nepal said office bearers of constitutional bodies should be reappointed after the new constitution is promulgated until the appointments are made in the bodies as per the new statute.

Agni Sapkota of UCPN-M said the first draft had created the basis to fulfill over six-decade old dream of the Nepali people to promulgate constitution through their representatives. “It has promoted sovereignty and national pride,” he said. .

Dipak Bohara of Rastriya Prajatantra Party said the eight-state model, without names or boundaries, should be settled prior to delivering the statute. He opined to include religious independence instead of secularism.

Other CA members suggested special provisions for Dalits, country’s largest backward group.

Meanwhile, CA members of four Madhes-based parties – Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party, Sadbhawana Party and Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party – boycotted the CA meeting today as well for the second consecutive day.

FSFN leader Upendra Yadav, taking time at the beginning of today’s meeting, said participating in the discussions was meaningless, as the CA was heading towards promulgating the new constitution without boundaries of the federal units and ignoring the concerns of underprivileged groups.

The discussions will resume at 8:00am tomorrow.