Kathmandu, January 15
Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi said there was need for unity between the communist and the democratic forces on issues of national interest.
Addressing a programme organised by Editors Society of Nepal here, Nidhi said the issues that the government had incorporated in the constitution amendment bill were not against national interest. He criticised the CPN-UML for calling the bill anti-national. He said the UML should not misuse the term anti-national. He said restructuring of boundaries within Nepal was not separation of the country.
He said the language that the bill used on citizenship issue was similar to the language used in the constitution of 1990 and creating another Tarai province from Nawalparasi Bardghat Susta west to Bardiya was similar to the proposal contained in a document that the NC, CPN-UML and some other parties that were coalition partners in the erstwhile government had tabled on November 3, 2014.
On language, Nidhi said the bill had stated that languages recommended by the Language Commission would be mentioned in the schedule of the constitution that was envisaged by the constitution.
Nidhi added that the concerned body would decide which language should be official language other than the Nepali language.
On the occasion, Nidhi gave away Govinda Biyogi Journalism Award to journalist Prashant Aryal, editor of Nepal weekly magazine.
Similarly, Govinda Biyogi Special Journalism Award was posthumously awarded to Gopal Gotame of Birgunj. ESoN also felicitated media personalities RK Manadhar, Prakash Man Singh Pradhan and Kalyani Rimal.
CPN-UML Secretary Pradip Gyawali said Biyogi favoured unity between the democratic and left forces after the 1990 popular movement and if the two forces could show unity now that would be real homage to Biyogi.
Spokesperson for the CPN-Maoist Centre Pampha Bhusal said Matribhumi edited by Biyogi during Panchayat period inspired her to become a devoted political cadre and fight against the Panchayat system. Academician Hiranya Lal Shrestha said Biyogi was a courageous leader who supported right foreign policies for Nepal.
General Secretary of ESoN Shyam Dotel said it was a matter of concern that the weeklies that championed the cause of democracy during panchayat raj had ceased to exist due to financial and other problems.
A version of this article appears in print on January 16, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.