Voting on bill to amend charter likely today

Kathmandu, August 20

Parliament Secretariat is preparing to put the constitution amendment bill to vote tomorrow, as clause-wise discussion on the bill began today in the Parliament after all the lawmakers who had moved amendment proposals on the bill finished speaking in the House.

Thirty-six of the 37 lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties who had proposed 50 amendments to the bill spoke in favour of their proposals today.

Nepali Congress Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha, one of the movers of amendment proposals, said the bill intended to give rights to the citizens which could not be against the interests of the country. Stating that constitution was not an unchangeable document, he said it would be wise to amend the constitution to avert any conflict.

CPN-Maoist Centre lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari said around the time of the promulgation of the constitution, leaders had assured the public that they would accommodate aspirations of all the stakeholders and since the amendment bill was intended to accommodate the aspirations of all communities, no one should object.

UML lawmaker Bhim Rawal said the constitution amendment bill was against the interests of the country. He said the constitution had given rights to all the citizens which needed to be implemented. He said the revision of the provincial boundaries would not empower any community.

After movers of the amendment proposals finished speaking, lawmakers who had expressed their intent to take part in clause-wise discussion on the bill spoke up.

Forty lawmakers expressed their intent to speak during the clause-wise discussion.

Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Laxman Lal Karna told the House that giving rights to citizens could not be anti-national. He said it was illogical to place any restriction on foreign women married to Nepali men. He said if only Nepali language was made the official language, then other languages could not develop and people whose mother tongue was not Nepali would not get government jobs.

UML lawmaker Purushottam Paudel said the bill was not intended to give powers to the people but only to gain votes.

Nepal Democratic Forum lawmaker Gita Chhetri said lawmakers should be mindful that efforts to expand acceptance of the constitution should not lead to a situation where 90 per cent majority that had endorsed the new constitution opposed the efforts to expand the acceptance of the constitution.

Co-spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Dilli Ram Rijal told THT that the secretariat was preparing to put the constitution amendment bill to vote tomorrow even if business had to be prolonged till late in the evening.

Rijal said lawmakers taking part in clause-wise discussion would be given three minutes to speak tomorrow. After clause-wise discussion, the House would put all the amendment proposals to vote, he added.

The bill can be passed only if two-third of the 592 existing members of the Parliament support the bill.