Parties begin fresh talks after SC order

Kathmandu, January 3

Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar today adjourned the Legislature Parliament till 1:00pm on Sunday after the main opposition party, CPN-UML, sought time to resolve political deadlock through talks after the Supreme Court defined constitutional provisions relating to changes of federal boundaries through constitution amendment.

The speaker adjourned today’s House meeting after agitating CPN-UML hinted that it would not obstruct the House business from its next meeting in the changed context. The House has been obstructed by an alliance of nine parties led by the UML for one month and the obstruction is likely to end on Sunday.

Following the UML’s Standing Committee meeting held at the residence of party Chairman KP Sharman Oli, party’s Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam said, “After the SC’s verdict, there is no need to obstruct the House. However, we will request the government to withdraw the constitution amendment bill.”

The three major parties have already agreed to hold elections at all the three levels without any delay and take agitating Madhes-based parties into confidence.

The government may table the bill and the speaker may hold preliminary discussion on it only to shelve it, stating that the bill cannot be forwarded to the concerned provinces, as state assemblies are yet to be formed.

The government will have another option – remove the provision of redrawing federal boundaries from the bill and put only other parts of the bill to vote in the House.

“I postponed today’s House meeting after Deputy Leader of UML’s Parliamentary Party Subas Chandra Nembang told today’s Business Advisory Committee meeting that the next House  meeting was unlikely to be obstructed,” the Speaker told reporters after the BAC meeting held in the presence of second-rung leaders of the major parties.

The UML had demanded that the House be adjourned for five days keeping in view the Kathmandu-centric demonstration of an alliance of nine opposition parties led by it.

CPN-Maoist Centre’s leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said, “The decision of tabling the bill has not been changed so far and the SC’s verdict has not stopped the government from tabling the bill. However, the parties will decide on the remaining procedures of the bill after further consultations.”

Nembang believes that the government will withdraw the bill, as the Supreme Court clearly stated that the changes in the boundaries without the consent of concerned provinces would be meaningless.

Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel, however, said, “Since the SC’s order mentioned that constitution amendment was the business of the Parliament, it will discuss the bill and take appropriate decision.”

NC Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha said the Parliament could redraw the federal boundaries through constitution amendment, as it had been using the powers of all state assemblies until they were formed after fresh elections.

The United Democratic Madhesi Front has called its meeting tomorrow to decide its course of action in the new context, according to Rajendra Shrestha, a leader of the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal.