FA serves 15-day ultimatum to govt

Kathmandu, November 14

The Federal Alliance on Monday served a 15-day ultimatum to the government for moving a constitution amendment bill in the Parliament.

FA Coordinator Upendra Yadav, along with other leaders of the alliance including Rajendra Mahato and Mahendra Yadav, submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at Singha Durbar today, urging him to fully implement the three-point agreement.

Two major coalition partners the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML had signed three-point agreement with FA in August, following which FA lawmakers voted for Pushpa Kamal Dahal in his bid for premiership.

The alliance stated in its memorandum that if constitution amendment bill was not tabled in the Parliament within 15 days to address the demands of Madhesis, Janajatis and deprived groups regarding federalism, identity, population-based representation in all organs of the state, proportional inclusion and autonomy, it would launch another movement.

After submitting the memorandum, Yadav told THT that FA served the ultimatum, as the PM failed to meet his self-imposed deadline to table constitution amendment bill.

FA said it halted its protest against the new constitution as the NC and the CPN-MC expressed their commitment to amend the constitution in the three-point and seven-point deals (signed between the NC and the CPN-MC).

“We want the government to register the bill with our consent,” he added and said amendment to the constitution would be meaningless if it did not address concerns of agitating forces. He said there could be two provinces in Madhes, which could be named Madhes and Tharuhat.

Yadav said all the plain areas of the Tarai districts should remain in Madhes and Tharuhat and the alliance would not accept the proposal to address the issue of five districts Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Kailali and Kanchanpur through a federal commission.

“Talk of settling the issue of five districts through a commission is a conspiracy to delay settlement and dilute federalism. A commission was not required to create seven provinces, why do they need it to settle the question of five districts?” he wondered.

On the issue of citizenship, Yadav said the alliance was not in favour of making naturalised citizens eligible for top constitutional posts, but there should be no discrimination on grounds of gender and there should be no bar for citizens by birth and women acquiring naturalised citizenship due to marital relations.

“If the government wants to scrap provisions relating to naturalised citizenship, so be it but those who have acquired naturalised citizenship due to marriage are just like citizens by descent,” he said and added that citizenship should be granted to all eligible people without any hassle.

Yadav said even the Upper House of the Parliament should have representation on basis of population. “I hear some saying three representations can be ensured for all provinces and the rest on the basis of population.

What is the basis for that?” he wondered. Yadav, however, said one representation can be ensured for all provinces but the rest should be based on population. At present, the constitution provides that all provinces shall have eight representations in the Upper House.

A press release issued by the PM’s Secretariat stated that the PM assured the FA leaders that the government would move the constitution amendment bill within 15 days. The PM also told FA leaders that he was taking necessary steps to address genuine concerns of Madhesis and Janajatis.

According to the release, Yadav told the PM that the government should seek to forge consensus with other parties that have representation in the Parliament only after moving the bill in the Parliament.