FA seeks removal of provisions of Article 274

Kathmandu, January 4

The Federal Alliance said it would accept polls only after the constitution was amended.

The FA also decided to seek amendment to Article 274 that ‘prohibits revision of provincial boundaries without the consent of the provincial assembly concerned’.

These decisions were taken after a meeting of the alliance held here today, said FA Coordinator Upendra Yadav. The FA, however, termed the SC’s decision positive, as it made it clear that the process to amend the constitution should not be obstructed, Yadav said.

The alliance termed UML’s obstruction of the House proceedings an undemocratic move. The alliance also stated that it would not accept the constitution amendment bill if it was not revised.

Coordinator of the Federal Alliance Upendra Yadav told THT that the alliance decided to seek removal of the provisions of Article 274.

The article states that the concerned provincial assemblies and majority of the provincial assemblies should endorse the revision of provincial boundaries. FA considers that a restriction on federalism and therefore should be removed through amendment to the constitution.

“Federalism is an evolving process. World over federal units often increase from the original number but our new constitution restricts this possibility,” he said and added that it would be impossible that majority of provinces would agree on the revision of the provincial boundaries. “If the provisions of Article 274 are not changed, the number of provinces will remain seven,” he added.

He said election to civic bodies were possible only after the constitution was amended to address demands of the agitating forces.

Meanwhile, the United Democratic Madhesi Front termed the SC’s decision to allow the Parliament to debate the constitution amendment bill positive. It also decided to hold talks with stakeholders to seek passage of a revised constitution amendment bill, said General Secretary of Sadbhawana Party Manish Kumar Suman.

The UDMF also instructed its secretariat to decide on the next course of agitation. Suman said the UDMF leaders would meet Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba to urge them to build environment in favour of the constitution amendment bill and to meet other demands of the UDMF that were related to those who were killed and injured during Madhes movement and those who were falsely indicted in criminal cases.

“We will tell the ruling parties that we will also hold dialogue with the stakeholders. We will also urge them to present the bill in the full House,” Suman added.

General Secretary of National Madhes Socialist Party Keshav Jha said UDMF leaders believed that the SC’s recent verdict posed no hurdle to revise provincial boundaries. He said the UDMF leaders believed that the SC had just quoted the provisions of the constitution and as there was no provision of provincial assemblies during the transitional phase, there was no question of seeking consent of any provincial assembly.

Jha said the UDMF also condemned UML’s month-long obstruction of House proceedings.

The UDMF sought to repeal recent classification of newspapers done by the Press Council, saying it downgraded some Madhesi media outlets or excluded them from categorisation for their sympathetic coverage of the Madhes movement.