Amendment bill proceedings paused

Kathmandu, January 3

Preliminary discussion on the Bill on First Amendment of Constitution of Nepal concluded here today.

Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar, however, paused the remaining proceedings of the bill till 1:00pm tomorrow, hoping for a breakthrough in the negotiations among three major political parties and agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front to resolve the Tarai unrest.

Announcing the conclusion of the preliminary discussion on the bill, the Speaker said at the House meeting that the remaining proceedings would begin tomorrow.

She paused the proceedings after Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Agni Prasad Kharel requested her to do the same, stating that the ongoing talks were likely to resolve the Tarai crisis and the UDMF might participate in the remaining proceedings tomorrow, according to sources close to the Speaker.

Minister Kharel will reply to the queries of the lawmakers raised during discussions on the bill, following which the Speaker would provide 72 hours to receive amendment proposals from lawmakers on the bill at tomorrow’s meeting slated for 1:00pm.

Altogether 58 lawmakers of the parties other than agitating Madhesi parties put forth their views during the four-day discussion on the bill that concluded today.

The discussion was held amid sloganeering from UDMF lawmakers, who have been stating that the bill was insufficient to address their concerns and are demanding that their concerns, including the issue of boundaries of federal units, be incorporated in the bill.

During the discussions, most of the speakers from the Nepali Congress, the Unified CPN-Maoist and other fringe parties suggested that the bill should be improved by incorporating the concerns of agitating parties, while CPN-UML lawmakers said only minor changes should be made to address the concerns of the disgruntled parties.

Some fringe parties, including Rastriya Janamorcha and Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party, called for withdraw the bill.

Prem Suwal of NWPP alleged that the bill was introduced in the interest of foreign forces. Durga Paudel of Rastriya Janamorcha said the bill should not be passed, as it undermined a large section of people of the country.