Deliberations on amendment bill to conclude on Sunday

Kathmandu, December 31

The deliberations on the Bill on First Amendment of Constitution of Nepal will be held even on Sunday and the discussion is likely to conclude on the same day. The proceedings will then enter into second main stage – providing 72 hours to lawmakers for registering amendment proposals on the bill – in Sunday’s meeting, said sources close to Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar.

The deliberations will go beyond Sunday only if major parties and the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front unanimously request the Speaker offering concrete reasons for it, said the sources.

Although the preliminary discussions are being prolonged in the hope of a arriving at a breakthrough in the talks between the three major parties and the UDMF, the next stage of the amendment process would begin on Sunday irrespective of whether consensus on UDMF demands is forged by then or not. It means, if consensus cannot be forged by then the major parties would move towards amending the new constitution even without UDMF’s support.

“We are prolonging the discussions on UDMF’s request in the hope of forging a consensus on its demands. However, the amendment process will move ahead even if consensus can’t be forged by Sunday,” said Nepali Congress Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha. Original bill can be amended even after Sunday through the amendment proposals of any lawmaker, he said.

Discussions on the bill began on Monday amid protest from UDMF lawmakers, who continued to raise slogans in the well of the House.

Today 42 lawmakers put forth their views on the bill.

Ananda Prasad Dhungana of NC accused the government of being reluctant to forge consensus with the agitating parties on the bill.

“The country had to face huge lose due the CPN-UML’s disagreement to move ahead the bill registered by previous Congress-led government at that time. It forced the Congress to break ties with the UML.

“Even now, the UML-led government is more concerned about expanding the Cabinet and splitting ministries to prolong its stay,” Dhungana said.

He suggested to incorporate the aspirations of the agitating parties in the amendment bill.

Aman Lal Modi of Unified CPN-Maoist said the amendment bill should address the concerns of agitating parties by incorporating the issue of boundaries of federal units.