Deliberations on constitution amendment bill deferred
Kathmandu, December 23
Beginning of preliminary discussion on Bill on the First Amendment of Constitution of Nepal scheduled for today was deferred by four days till Sunday after main opposition Nepali Congress and agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front sought time for negotiations, stating that talks are heading in a positive direction.
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Ruling CPN-UML and Unified CPN-Maoist today proposed to begin the discussions today itself and pass the bill by Friday evening, adopting a fast-track method.
Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar was also prepared to begin discussion today itself despite obstruction from UDMF, according to sources.
NC and UDMF, however, urged the ruling parties and the Speaker to defer the deliberations.
NC Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha said chief whips of parties representing the UDMF sought more time to begin discussions on the bill, stating that the talks were heading in the positive direction.
NC also sought to put off deliberations during today’s meeting of the Business Advisory Committee called by the Speaker ahead of the House meeting.
“After all parties other than the UML and UCPN-M proposed to postpone the discussion, the two also agreed to begin the discussions only from Sunday,” said Shrestha.
CPN-UML’s whip Gokul Ghart said, “We wanted to conclude discussion today and pass the bill by Friday evening.”
NC and UDMF are fine-tuning the language of the proposed amendment bill to address the concerns about proportional inclusion and delineation of parliamentary constituencies on the basis of population, according to NC Chief Whip Shrestha.
The two are also close to making some changes on the issues related to citizenship and on settling the issue of boundaries of the federal units within three months by creating conducive atmosphere, he said. “We have sought more time for negotiations so that we can reach a win-win situation for all,” Shrestha said.
Chief Whip of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Shivajee Yadav said efforts to resolve crisis through consensus were under way.
Following the BAC meeting, the Speaker began the House proceedings and Industry Minister Som Prasad Pande tabled a proposal requesting the Speaker to begin discussions on the bill.
The Speaker then announced that discussions would begin on Sunday. UDMF lawmakers continued their protest in the well while the proceedings were being held.
Meanwhile, a meeting of NC’s office bearers held this morning decided to put the discussions on the bill on hold for some days and fine-tune the bill registered by previous NC-led government after holding negotiations with the UDMF and other parties.