Stalemate on tabling key bills continues

Kathmandu, December 13

Tripartite talks between the ruling parties, principal opposition Nepali Congress and the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front, attended by top leaders from each side, ended inconclusively today.

Co-chair of Sadbhawana Party Laxman Lal Karna said the talks ended inconclusively mainly because the NC wanted to table both the bills  Constitution Amendment Bill and Reconstruction Authority Bill - together in the Parliament which the UDMF rejected.

Karna said the major parties were responsible for the current political deadlock.

According to the UDMF, the major parties needed to address its 11-point demands in a package and Constitution Amendment Bill registered in the Parliament by Sushil Koirala-led government was not enough to address their demands.

This bill intends to ensure proportional inclusion in state organs and delineation of election constituencies on the basis of population.

According to senior leader of Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party-Nepal Ram Naresh Ray, the ruling parties told the NC leaders that since the agitating UDMF was supporting the passage of the Reconstruction Authority Bill, the NC should agree on tabling the bill ahead in the Parliament but the NC refused to budge from its stance.

He said the current feud between the ruling parties and the NC was basically about making their favourite candidate the chief executive officer of the Reconstruction Authority which will have the task of completing multi-million-dollar reconstruction projects.

Earlier, the top leaders of the NC discussed the two bills with the Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Chair Mahantha Thakur, Vice-chair Hridayesh Tripathi and General Secretary Sarvendranath Shukla and urged them to allow the tabling of both the bills together in the Parliament.

According to Shukla, the NC leaders told the TMDP leaders that their concerns about the Constitution Amendment Bill could be addressed during debate in the parliamentary panel but the TMDP leaders said since the bill did not meet their demands and since the Madhesi forces wanted solution to the constitutional issues in a package, they could not accept the NC’s proposal of tabling both the bills together in the Parliament.

Shukla said change in the provincial boundaries was the UDMF’s bottomline and until the major parties came up with a clear roadmap on the boundaries question, they could not allow the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill.

The UDMF, which has been agitating for more than 100 days, is also obstructing the House proceedings.

“If we allow the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill, these major parties would delay action on the issue of provincial boundaries,” Shukla said.

TMDP leaders said the agitating Madhesi forces were not worried about who would get the credit for resolving the Tarai unrest but if the major parties agreed to resolve all the issues in a package, then they all could take credit for it.