Amendment now, boundary delineation later: PM to UDMF

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has proposed that the Constitution amendment bill would be endorsed before the May 14 local polls, withdrawing provisions regarding delineation of provinces from the proposal.

In a meeting with leaders of the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said the issues on delineation could be settled later through a commission and urged the UDMF parties to opt for local elections.

Making it clear that there was no scope of endorsement of the amendment proposal that the government brought in at present, Dahal, who is also the chairman of CPN Maoist Centre, asked the UDMF to agree to resolve the issues of provincial boundaries through a commission prior to the provincial and federal elections, according to a statement issued by the PM's Secretariat.

Other issues on the amendment proposal could be endorsed with revision now, he told them.

After the UDMF announced that it withdrew the support extended to the government, the PM had called the agitating leaders for a meeting today.

During the meeting, the PM told leaders that purported amendment to provisions on citizenship, language and representation in the Upper House, however, could be endorsed before the local polls, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur informed after the meeting.

"We replied that the Front will hold a meeting and give the answer," he said, "We will hold a meeting and make a concrete decision today itself."

Thakur, however, maintained that the UDMF would not accept the Constitution amendment if it did not address the demands regarding review of the provincial boundaries.

The PM had proposed that the Constitution could be amended again before the provincial and the federal polls incorporating the concerns on boundaries after the commission would solve the issue, according to Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato.

PM Dahal and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Kamal Thapa were present at the meeting on behalf of the government.

Thakur, Mahato, Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Co-Chairman Rajendra Shrestha, Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party Chairman Mahendra Yadav among others had represented the Madhesi Front.

(With inputs from the Rastriya Samachar Samiti)