Deuba urges FA leaders to trust NC

Kathmandu, November 16

Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and other senior leaders of the party held a meeting with leaders of the Federal Alliance and assured them that his party would lead the process to amend constitution.

Co-Chair of Sadbhawana Party Laxman Lal Karna said alliance leaders told the NC president that the alliance gave a 15-day ultimatum to the government to register constitution amendment bill as the government missed its self-imposed deadline repeatedly. “We have told them that this is the last deadline we have given them for registering the bill,” Karna said.

General Secretary of National Madhes Socialist Party Keshav Jha said FA leaders told NC leaders that they halted their protest after the NC, the largest democratic force of the country, assured them of making efforts to amend the constitution, but the government had not been able to register constitution amendment bill in the Parliament.

Jha said FA leaders told Deuba that the ruling parties should do their bit to amend the constitution without bothering about the CPN-UML. “If the UML does not come on board, the ruling parties should think of getting the constitution amendment bill passed without the UML’s support.

However, they should move the bill first,” Jha quoted FA leaders as telling Deuba.

Jha said eight-nine leaders associated with the FA, including Upendra Yadav and Mahantha Thakur, conveyed similar messages to NC leaders. Jha said Deuba also assured FA leaders that NC rank and file was convinced that without addressing demands of the agitating forces the constitution could not be implemented and elections could not be held, and hence, the agitating forces should not doubt the NC’s intention.

FA Spokesperson Om Gurung said alliance leaders reminded NC leaders of their 26-point demands and made it clear that they would not accept any commission to settle the question of provincial boundaries.

“We have told them that boundaries should be revised along the line of the erstwhile report of the State Restructuring Commission,” Gurung said and added that FA leaders also told the NC president that the government should move the constitution amendment bill only after satisfying agitating forces.

Gurung said the FA would not accept the ruling parties’ approach to address agitating forces’ demands in piecemeal. “Constitution should be amended in a way that guarantees identity based federalism, ends discrimination against marginalised groups and ensures proportional representation for all the communities,” he said.

Gurung said the FA leaders also told the NC President that the government had not yet fully honoured the three-point deal.

Nepali Congress leader Gopal Man Shrestha, who was present in the meeting, said Deuba told FA leaders not to worry about the constitution amendment bill. Shrestha said Deuba told FA leaders that in a week or so he would intensify dialogue with other stakeholders, including the UML, over the constitutional issues and help register the constitution amendment bill as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal discussed constitutional issues with CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli today and sought his help on the constitution amendment bill.

According to PM Dahal’s personal aide, Manahari Timilsina, the two leaders discussed key constitutional issues, including representation in the Upper House of the Parliament, boundaries of the federal provinces, citizenship and language.

He said the two leaders did not reach any conclusion today.