Government tables bills, UDMF objects

Kathmandu, December 15

Bill on First Amendment of Constitution of Nepal and Bill on Reconstruction of Earthquake Affected Structures were tabled at the Legislature Parliament today despite objection from the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front.

The ruling parties agreed to table both the bills together as per the demand of the main opposition Nepali Congress, ignoring UDMF’s demand that only the reconstruction bill be tabled.

Chairperson of the Legislation Committee Ganga Chaudhari (Satgaunwa) tabled the revised bill related to reconstruction authority, while Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Agni Prasad Kharel tabled constitution amendment bill.

The UDMF lawmakers were chanting slogans in the well of the House and marshals of the Parliament cordoned them off to let the bills be tabled.

The reconstruction bill is likely to be passed tomorrow or a day after tomorrow with NC’s backing after a brief discussion on it.

“We will request the government to retain the provision of the original bill for continuing chief executive officer appointed by the previous government as per ordinance. If the government agrees, it will be good.

Even otherwise the bill will be passed with strong backing of NC, as the party has already agreed to vote in support of the bill,” said NC Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha.

He said a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of NC’s office bearers and some senior leaders this morning.

Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar said the Parliament was likely to pass the bill in tomorrow’s meeting slated for 4:00pm and if that did not materialise, it would certainly be passed on Thursday.

The reconstruction authority bill has been stuck at the Parliament for more than two months mainly due to a dispute between NC and UML on whether to retain Govinda Raj Pokharel, who was appointed CEO by the previous government, or appoint a new CEO.

In case the revised bill is passed, the government can appoint new CEO of the proposed reconstruction authority.

Although the constitution amendment bill has proposed to mention proportional inclusion of underprivileged communities in state bodies and make population the major basis while delineating election constituencies in the new constitution, the UDMF has said it is insufficient to address its concerns.

It will take up to 20 days to pass the constitution amendment bill following set procedures, according to the Speaker.

NC chief whip said the major parties would make all possible attempts to incorporate the concerns of agitating UDMF in the constitution amendment bill through amendment proposal on the bill by holding talks with the UDMF.

Agitating parties' take

KATHMANDU: Agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front has expressed strong objection to the tabling of the two bills without its consent. Sadbhawana Party Co-chair Laxman Lal Karna said tabling the bills even during obstruction was against parliamentary norms and practice. “This is an undemocratic and autocratic act of the government and the Speaker. Even the largest democratic party supported it. Today’s move has created a big challenge before the Madhes movement. There will be no justification of holding talks with this government in the given situation,” Karna said. He said the UDMF meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon would decide whether to support the reconstruction authority bill or not. “We had not objected to the reconstruction authority bill even earlier. However, the final decision regarding the bill will be taken on Wednesday,” he said.