Demand for polls to assembly

Kathmandu, February 22:

Legal experts and political leaders said today that election to the constituent assembly on the basis of the prevailing constitution was the only way out for the country.

Laxman Aryal, former justice of the Supreme Court and a drafter of the Constitution, addressing an interaction at the New Media Club Nepal today, said that election to the constituent assembly would solve the present political crisis.

“Sovereignty is an inherent right of the people. Nobody, under no circumstances, can take it away. Only people have the right to either introduce or oppose any constitution,” he said.

Aryal added: “After the recent SC verdict, the King should resign immediately from his unconstitutional post of the cabinet chairman. This will provide a clear way forward.”

Daman Nath Dhungana, another drafter of constitution and former speaker of House of Representative, however, said that the Supreme Court verdict regarding the rights of the King was not enough.

“The verdict allows the King to hand over power as and when he likes. This will only provide a chance of escape for the monarch. Only returning the people’s rights is not enough. He should rather vow not to take any unconstitutional step again,” he said.

“Nepal is lagging behind in development despite her two neighbours, India and China, going through rapid growths. The reason for this is the direct rule of a monarch with medieval mentality,” Dhungana said, adding, the King either has to accept a constituent assembly or bid the country adieu.

Dhungana said though the King and army may now agree to remain within the bounds of the constitution, the civic society, the people of new generation, human rights activists and other professionals may not settle for that option now.

He also warned the political parties not to negotiate with the palace again. “The crux of the problem is that the political parties are not confident of their target,” he added.

NC leader Arjun Narasingh KC said the crisis plaguing the country would end only after the people reactivate the present constitution through a mass movement and then go for the election of constituent assembly.

“The activation of the present constitution alone cannot solve the problem, though it may open a new door to a possible solution,” he said. The end of autocracy, the restoration of complete democracy, bringing of the Maoists into mainstream politics and the restructuring of the State are the keys to solving the crisis, KC added. UML leader Pradip Gyawali, said: “We will accept any result in the election of the constituent assembly, but we are not compromising on any other agenda.” Gyawali said constitutional amendment was not enough to check the King’s desires.