Kathmandu, May 23 Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal leaders today met Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and urged him to support their demands for constitution amendment to address the demands of marginalised communities, including the Madhesis and Janajatis, when the Parliament would amend schedule 3 of the constitution. The government registered a bill yesterday seeking to amend the map in the coat of arms to include Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani in the country’s map. JSP-N leaders Upendra Yadav, Baburam Bhattarai, Rajendra Shrestha, Rajendra Mahato, Mahendra Ray Yadav, Sharat Singh Bhandari, and Anil Kumar Jha met Deuba and urged him to support their demands for a package deal to amend the constitution. Rajendra Mahato and Upendra Yadav told THT that they wanted the Parliament to amend not only the national emblem but also other provisions of the constitution to address the demands of marginalised groups and communities, including Madhesis and Janajatis. “Amending the constitution to address the demands of various stakeholders is as urgent as amending the map of the country to reflect Nepal’s actual territory,” Yadav said. When asked what his views on Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani issues were, Yadav said that Nepal should have control over the territory determined in the Sugauli Treaty. India has political and administrative control over Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani and it also has counter claims over these territories. Mahato said they had told Deuba that no Nepali could tolerate encroachment of the country’s land, but there was reason to believe that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was acting like other rulers of the past as he appeared to be more interested in saving his chair than in defending the country’s border. “Border disputes entail serious diplomatic dialogue and efforts, but the way the PM spoke in the House of Representatives recently antagonising India, gave the impression that he was spoiling the environment for dialogue with India. The kind of attitude that PM Oli has shown in the House won’t help us resolve our border disputes,” Mahato said and added that it was because of the past rulers’ desire to save their chairs that they kept mum when Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani areas vanished from the map of Nepal. “These territories that were there on our map vanished from the map for hundreds of years. Now, we have included them on our map,” Mahato said and added that diplomacy was the only means that could yield positive results. “India has resolved border disputes with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as these countries made serious diplomatic efforts towards this end, but no ruler of Nepal has ever made such earnest efforts to resolve border disputes with India. Mahato said that serious efforts needed to be made to hold dialogue with India as incorporation of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani in the country’s map alone would not ensure return of these territories to Nepal. He said the government should compile all the relevant evidences to back the country’s claim over Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani. Deuba told the JSP-N leaders that he would convey their demands to Nepali Congress office bearers tomorrow at the party’s meeting to discuss political issues. The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) does not have two-thirds majority in the Parliament required to amend the constitution. Either the NC or the JSP-N will have to support it to amend the constitution. The NCP remains opposed to JSP-N’s demands for amending the constitution. JSP-N’s key demands include change in provincial borders to reflect identity of the province, guarantee of multi-lingual policy, guarantee of representation by population principle and lifting of restrictions imposed on citizens by birth and naturalised citizens, among others.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 24, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.