Govt registers bill to amend constitution

Kathmandu, November 29

The government registered the constitution amendment bill in the Parliament today, proposing to create another province in the Tarai. The government registered the bill late in the evening after a Cabinet meeting endorsed the bill.

The bill also proposes to address three other key issues citizenship, representation in the Upper House and language.

The government took the step a day after the 15-day deadline served by the Federal Alliance for implementing the three-point deal ended. Registering constitution amendment bill was FA’s key demand.

The government has proposed to include Nawalparasi (Bardaghat Susta west), Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Banke, Dang and Bardiya in another Tarai province that will be known as Province 5.

The government decided to put other hill districts of the existing Province 5 into Province 4.

Province 4 will now have Gorkha, Lamjung, Tanahun, Kaski, Manang, Mustang, Parbat, Syangja, Myagdi, Baglung, Palpa, Gulmi, Arghakhanchi, Nawalparasi (Bardaghat Susta east), Ropla, Pyuthan and Rukum (eastern part).

The Cabinet also decided to form a commission to address concerns about five districts Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Kailali and Kanchanpur.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi told THT that the government decided to form a commission through an executive order to address all concerns about boundaries.

He said the commission’s mandate would be to prepare its report after studying all concerns about boundaries, the reports of erstwhile State Restructuring Commission and the agreements signed in the past with stakeholders including Janajatis.

Asked if the cabinet decided to address the question of Article 274 that some lawyers interpret as posing a hurdle in revising the boundaries of the province in absence of approval of the provincial government, Nidhi said the government believed that Article 274 would apply only after the provincial governments were formed.

On the question of representation in the Upper House, the bill proposes to ensure three representations from all provinces differently-abled, Dalit and minority representatives and 35 members on the basis of population. Among the 35 members, 14 will be female representatives.

The bill proposes to list all the mother tongues of Nepal in the schedule of the constitution on the recommendation of the Language Commission. It also states that all languages recommended to be official languages by the Language Commission will be listed in the constitution’s schedule.

On citizenship, the bill proposes that foreign women married to Nepali men can obtain naturalised citizenship after initiating the process to renounce their citizenship. The bill does not say anything about the rights of the naturalised citizens and citizens by birth.

Current constitutional provision bars naturalised citizens and citizens by descent from holding top constitutional posts, including president and prime minister. Agitating forces had demanded that citizenship provisions of the Interim Constitution be retained.

CPN-UML Vice Chair Bhim Rawal said the constitution amendment bill was not in the interest of the country and the people. He said the bill would polarise the society further and create conflict between political parties.

He said the party would discuss the bill and make its official position clear.

Sadbhawana Party Chair Rajendra Mahato said the United Democratic Madhesi Front would call a meeting and make its stance clear on the bill.

Asked whether the UDMF would support the government’s effort to hold polls even if the constitution amendment bill failed in the Parliament, Mahato said, “I do not know anything about that.”

Top Bahadur’s note of dissent

KATHMANDU: The CPN-Maoist Centre leader Top Bahadur Rayamajhi has put dissenting views on the constitution amendment bill, which the government is preparing to table in the Parliament.

During the politburo meeting of the CPN-MC held in the party’s headquarters Parisdanda, Kathmandu, Rayamajhi said he was not in favour of changing the boundaries of Province 5.

“I am not against amending the constitution. But I’m also not in favour of changing boundaries of Province 5,” said Rayamajhi.

He said people in the province had been living in harmony and didn’t desire a change in boundaries of province.

NC picks 10 for state ministers

KATHMANDU: The Nepali Congress on Tuesday finalised names of 10 state ministers for the cabinet of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

According to NC source, Dirga Singh Bhat, Indra Baniya, Sita Ram Mehata, Mithu Malla, Kanchan Bade, Subarna Jwarchan, Tara Man Gurung, Surendra Acharya, Dilip Gachhadar and Deepak Khadka have been picked for state ministers.

NC President Deuba finalised the names following discussion with NC leaders Ramchandra Paudel, Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Khum Bahadur Khadka. Of the 10 Bhat, Meheta, Malla, Jwarchan and Gachhadar are from the Deuba camp, Bade, Acharya and Khadka from the Paudel’s side and Baniya and Gurung from Khadka and Sitaula’s camps, respectively.

Deuba gave the list of state ministers to Deputy Prime Minister Bimalendra Nidhi, who later handed it over to the prime minister, according to Nidhi’s Press Adviser Ramji Dahal.