Kathmandu, August 21
The much awaited constitution amendment bill, brought to address key demands of the agitating Madhesi forces, failed to muster two-third majority in the Parliament today.
Out of 553 lawmakers who were present in the Parliament today, 347 lawmakers voted in favour of the bill, 48 short of the two-third majority required to pass the bill.
Any amendment to the constitution can be passed only by two-third majority votes in the House.
There are 592 members in the House.
A total of 206 lawmakers, including those of the main opposition party, CPN-UML, voted against the bill.
Thirty-nine lawmakers didn’t take part in the voting.
A total of 204 lawmakers of the Nepali Congress, 80 of the CPN-Maoist Centre, 25 of the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, 15 of the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, 16 of the Nepal Democratic Forum, three of the CPN-United, and one lawmaker each of Nepali Janata Dal, Samajwadi Janata Party, Sanghiya Loktantrik Rastriya Manch (Tharuhat) and Tharuhat Tarai Loktantrik Party voted in favour of the bill.
A total of 180 lawmakers of CPN-UML, 18 of Kamal Thapa-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party, three of Rastriya Janamorcha, and four of Nepal Workers and Peasants Party Party were among those who voted against the bill.
Nineteen lawmakers associated with Pashupati Shamsher JB Rana-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Democratic, who split from the RPP, the legality of which is yet to be settled, abstained from voting today.
Three lawmakers of the NC — Kalpana Sob, Kabita Kumari Sardar and Gita Wagle — and three of the CPN-MC were also absent in today’s voting.
CPN-ML, which has five lawmakers, and Nepal Parivar Dal, which has two lawmakers, boycotted the voting. No member of the Parliament voted in the neutral column.
NC Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha said Sob and Sardar were absent without giving prior notice to the party’s Parliamentary Party, and would be asked to explain the reasons for their abstention.
Deputy parliamentary party leader of UML Subas Chandra Nembang told mediapersons outside the Parliament that after today’s voting the constitution had been accepted by all parties, as those who said they would not accept it took part in the amendment process.
“We wanted to make the bill acceptable to all and wanted it to go through a special committee of the House,” he said when asked why his party voted against the bill.
He said the failure of the bill raised moral questions against the government.
Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal leader Laxman Lal Karna said his party’s office bearers would meet tomorrow and decide on the party’s future course.
Chief Whip of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Shivji Yadav said the bill should have been put to vote after forging consensus with all the stakeholders but the three major parties colluded to fail the bill.
Yadav said putting the bill to vote was an attempt to divert from the main agenda of Madhes.
“We will take this agenda to people during elections,” he added.
Nepali Congress lawmaker Prakash Sharan Mahat said putting the bill to vote was a parliamentary process and the failure of the bill did not raise any moral question against the ruling parties.
A version of this article appears in print on August 22, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.
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