KATHMANDU, August 2
The Constitutional-Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee missed the deadline provided by the Constituent Assembly to submit its report by on Sunday, casting doubt on the delivery of the new constitution by August 17, the deadline imposed by the major parties for the same.
The five-member special committee comprising top leaders of four parties – Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, Unified CPN-Maoist and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic — entered into the issue of demarcating the federal units, the most disputed issue which they had shelved in the 16-point agreement of June 8, stating that a commission would accomplish the task later.
“The special committee agreed in principle to promulgate the new constitution by demarcating the boundaries of the new constitution. I hope we will be able to settle the issue of boundaries in a few days. It is not impossible to complete the task, as it is a matter of tentative demarcation without technical details,” said CPDCC Chairman Baburam Bhattarai.
“On Sunday’s CPDCC meeting began but had to be paused, as the leaders are continuing attempts to settle the issues. The meeting will resume after the special committee finds a solution. Taking one or two extra days is normal and it just happens as we are dealing with the most serious issue,” Bhattarai said.
Chances are low that the CA will be able to deliver the new constitution within next 15 days as claimed by the leaders since the CPDCC is yet to prepare its report by incorporating many disputed issues.
“Although we have held many rounds of talks on key issues, including secularism, citizenship, demarcation of boundaries, some issues related to fundamental rights, forms of governance and whether to reappoint the office bearers of the constitutional bodies after the new constitution is delivered, nothing has been settled,” said NC leader Ramchandra Paudel.
UCPN-M leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said, “We are not deviating from the spirit of delivering the new statute by August 17 as per 16-point deal. However, the situation will be complex and it will invite many complications if the issue of boundaries could not be settled within one or two days.” NC leader Purna Bahadur Khadka said promulgating the new constitution through the CA might be derailed if the CA failed to deliver the new statute by mid-September.
After the top leaders failed to settle the disputed issues, they moved out of the meeting venue (Parliament Secretariat) in the early evening, leaving the second-rung leaders to continue talks. However, the meeting of the second-rung leaders coordinated by Bhattarai and comprising NC’s Paudel, UML’s Bhim Rawal, UCPN-M’s Shrestha and MJF-D’s Jitendra Narayan Dev failed to find any way out till late evening. “We will continue attempts to settle disputes early tomorrow morning,” said Bhattarai.
Earlier, before the CPDCC meeting was “paused”, its members, including Narayan Man Bijukchhe of Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party and Keshav Badal of UML criticised the leaders, saying they backtracked from the 16-point deal and were hatching a conspiracy to avert the possibility of delivering the new statute through the CA.
A version of this article appears in print on August 03, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.