NC lawmakers for pluralism, religious freedom in statute

KATHMANDU: Lawmakers of ruling Nepali Congress criticised the first draft of new constitution for 'failing to incorporate pluralism, but including secularism'.

Speaking at a meeting of the party's parliamentary party in the PM's residence in Baluwatar today, lawmakers including Bharat Shah, Usha Gurung, Bharat Khadka, Keshav Kumar Budhathoki, Jeevan Pariyar, Kiran Yadav and Dhyan Govinda Ranjit, among others, demanded that the party should not compromise on pluralism and parliamentary system.

According to the Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS), lawmaker Shankar Bhandari and few others suggested replacing the term 'secularism' with 'religious freedom'.

"Most lawmakers are for using 'religious freedom' while avoiding mentioning both 'Hindu state' and 'secularism'," the news agency quoted NC lawmaker Ramhari Khatiwada as saying.

Party President and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba and Vice-President Ram Chandra Paudel, however, did not respond to the suggestions, according to the RSS.

The meeting will continue tomorrow.