Govt may register amendment bill today

Kathmandu, November 27

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi said the government would most likely register the constitution amendment bill in the Parliament tomorrow.

He said the government, which was preparing to register the bill today, could not do so, as the PM could not consult Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba in time and the United Democratic Madhesi Front leaders also did not endorse the draft.

“At a time when the CPN-UML is also opposing the constitution amendment bill, it is important for the government that UDMF supports it,” Nidhi said and added that the ruling parties had told the UDMF leaders that out of 26-point demand submitted by the Federal Alliance, the government would try to address four key issues -- revision of provincial boundaries, citizenship, language and representation in the Upper House. “We are committed to addressing these four issues,” he added.

Nidhi said the UDMF should be content that the four key issues were going to be addressed from the Parliament where numerically UDMF was not in a position to influence much.

Minister of Education Dhaniram Paudel said the PM told Cabinet colleagues in today’s Cabinet meeting that the UML was positive on the constitution amendment bill before but did a volte face later. The PM added that the government was preparing to address the four issues and planning to forge maximum consensus on the bill.

“There is no relevance for the Cabinet to pass the constitution amendment bill now,” Paudel quoted the PM as telling the Cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, senior Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel today met the PM and told him to move the constitution amendment bill only after seeking consent of the major parties, including Madhesi parties. Paudel flew to Japan after meeting the PM.

Paudel said he told the PM to seek consent of all the forces on the bill to ensure its passage.

Sadbhawana Party Chair Rajendra Mahato, however, said the PM should register the constitution amendment bill tomorrow. “The government should not care who is supporting the bill.

It should register the bill to address maximum demands of the agitating forces,” he said and added that if the government did not register the bill on any pretext, the UDMF would be compelled to take to the streets.

The alliance, which has UDMF as a constituent, had submitted a memorandum to the prime minister, serving a 15-day deadline for registering the constitution amendment bill that ends tomorrow.

The CPN-UML, meanwhile, has warned that it would intensify protests in the Parliament, as well as on the streets, against the bill.