Constitution amendment bill deliberations put off till tomorrow

Kathmandu, January 19

The Legislature Parliament today put off the remaining proceedings of Bill on First Amendment of Constitution of Nepal until Thursday morning, awaiting possible consensus among the three major political parties and the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front on the draft of the bill.

Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar removed the proceedings of the amendment bill from today’s business schedule, following a decision of the three major parties  Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Unified CPN-Maoist  who requested her to give them two more days to iron out differences with the UDMF.

The House will meet again on 11:00am on Thursday.

As per the decision of top leaders of the three parties taken before today’s House meeting, the Parliament will begin clause-wise discussions on the bill on Thursday and pass it on Saturday even if consensus could not be forged by then, according to CPN-UML Vice Chairman Bhim Rawal.

“We will hold talks at all levels  task force and top leadership with the agitating parties. The talks and the House proceedings will go on simultaneously till Saturday. Even if consensus is not be forged by then, the House will pass the bill on Saturday with the support of other parties,” Rawal said after the three-party meeting.

The Big III are still divided on whether to pass the bill without making any change or change its draft by incorporating the 24 amendment proposals filed by lawmakers.

CPN-UML wants to pass the bill without changing its contents but NC and UCPN-M want to incorporate some of the 24 amendment proposals in its draft.

“Prime Minister and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli told today’s three party-meeting that changing the draft of the bill was not necessary, as it was tabled with the consent of the three parties,” said NC Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha.

UML wants to amend the draft only if there is an agreement with agitating UDMF, according to him.

Most of the 24 amendments are from NC and UCPN-M lawmakers and they are in consonance with the demands of agitating parties on two issues proportional inclusion and delineation of electoral constituencies.

UML lawmakers have not any amendment proposal.

The proposal registered by Bimalendra Nidhi-led group proposes to allocate 83 constituencies for the Tarai-Madhes region and 82 for hills and mountains.

NC leader Minendra Rijal-led group has proposed to create 79 or 80 constituencies in Tarai-Madhes and 85 or 86 in hills and mountains.

NC leader Farmullah Mansur-led group has proposed 11 clusters instead of existing 17 for proportional inclusion in state organs.

UCPN-M lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari-led group has sought to include nine clusters for proportional inclusion and 12 clusters for inclusion in the state organs.

Agitating Madhes-based parties, meanwhile, boycotted today’s House meeting after Sadbhawana Party leader Laxman Lal Karna spoke in the beginning of the meeting.

He blamed the major parties of holding the country and the Parliament hostage by not addressing the concerns of Madhesi people even after the demise of 57 people in five-month long movement.