Kathmandu, August 15
With growing pressure and continuing protests in the mid and far-west districts, leaders are under pressure to address the concerns of people, but are divided on the issues of the agitators.
It is unlikely that the parties will be able to resolve the disputed issues — boundaries, secularism, reappointment in constitutional bodies and threshold for representation under the proportional representation system in the parliament — by Monday, the deadline given to the Constitution Drafting Committee to prepare the final draft of the new constitution.
“Leaders are sharply divided. The leaders of the far-west including Sher Bahadur Deuba, Bhim Rawal and Ramesh Lekhak do not want to split the region and keep the demarcation of the agreed six-Pradesh model intact. NC leaders including Ramchandra Paudel and Purna Bahadur Khadka are expressing dissatisfaction with Deuba, Rawal, Lekhak, KP Oli and Krishna Prasad Sitaula for giving preference to their areas,” said sources involved in the negotiations.
NC’s Khadka is strongly pleading for a new seventh Pradesh by including Rukum and Rolpa from the fifth Pradesh and Surkhet, Jajarkot, Dailekh, Kalikot, Mugu, Humla, Jumla and Dolpa from the sixth Pradesh, according to sources.
Unified CPN-Maoist leaders are opposed to both undivided far-west and the proposed seven-Pradesh model. They have been pleading for dividing Kailali and carving out a separate Tharuhat Pradesh in the revised statute.
Some leaders have suggested declaring Karnali and Tharu dominant areas (from the plains of Kailali to Nawalparasi) as autonomous special zones with some special rights to address the dissatisfaction of people of those areas. However, people of both Karnali and Tharu dominant area have been pleading for separate Pradeshes for themselves.
“The meeting of top leaders could not take place today as the taskforce of the Constitution Drafting Committee could not complete its task. Members of the taskforce and top leaders are scheduled to meet tomorrow morning to try to settle the issues,” said UCPN-M Vice-chair Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
The six-member taskforce-led by CDC Chairman Sitaula is preparing to complete its task by late evening today and finalise the key disputed issues tomorrow morning by holding a joint meeting with the top leaders, according to its member Aindra Sundar Nembang. “We have inserted the issues agreed upon at the Constitutional-Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee following the people’s feedbackin the Reviewed Bill of the new constitution. The CDC is scheduled to endorse the Bill tomorrow if the disputed issues are settled at the leadership level,” he said.
As people from Baglung and Rukum, the two districts that have been split in the six-Pradesh model, have been expressing serious objections, the leaders might agree to keep the two districts intact, according to Nembang.
The Krishna Prasad Sitaula-led CDC is mandated to complete its task by Monday and forward the “Reviewed Bill” of the new constitution to the CA full House for moving ahead with the process of passing the Bill.
However, the parties have not been able to find a common view as the people of the far-west and mid-west have been continuously protesting for the past one week.
A version of this article appears in print on August 16, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.