KATHMANDU: Top leaders of the signatory parties to the 16-point agreement — Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, Unified CPN-Maoist and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic — agreed to promulgate the new constitution, as far as possible, before August 5.

MJF-D Chair Bijay Kumar Gachhadar said the top leaders agreed to take the first draft of the constitution to the public for 10 to 12 days in order to fast-track the process. He said the leaders agreed to limit the time for taking the draft to the public as it would return to the Constituent Assembly and Constitutional-Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee where necessary amendments could be made to the draft.

“We have many processes to complete before the constitution is promulgated. We can easily include people’s suggestions during those processes,” Gachhadar said.

Signatories to the 16 point pact concluded that they would be able to promulgate the new constitution between July 31 to August 5 if the process moved ahead according to their plan, he added.

The signatories of the 16-point agreement, Gachhadar added, also decided to hold talks with disgruntled groups including Madhesi and Janajati parties during the time when the draft is taken to the public for feedback. He said the four parties also agreed to end the debate on the draft constitution in the CA in a day or two.

Gachhadar said the draft constitution had mentioned federalism in the Preamble of the constitution, and also stated in the relevant sections that there would be eight Pradeshes on the basis of identity and economic capability and therefore, Madhesi and Janajati parties should not be sceptical about federalism.

“I do not want to say that Madhesi and Janajatis’ concerns are strange and unnatural, but it will be an immature act on their part if they conclude that federalism will be postponed before seeing the results (of the pact),” Gachhadar said.

The eight Pradeshes, he argued, would be carved on the basis of the five criteria that were related to identity and four criteria related to economic capability as has been stated in the 16-point agreement among the four major parties.

When asked if the four parties also discussed the Supreme Court’s interim order that said the CA must resolve all federalism issues by itself keeping in mind Article 1, 82 and 138 of the constitution, Gachhadar said, “I do not want to say much on this. I respect the court, but the CA is a sovereign body and we are moving ahead in accordance with constitutional norms,” Gachhadar added.