Speaker not to allow tabling of constitution amendment bill today amid obstruction by opposition parties
Kathmandu, December 21
Top leaders of the three major parties concluded Monday’s meeting with an understanding to make efforts for a package deal on key political agendas, but there is no sign that the opposition will end obstruction of the Legislature Parliament slated to meet at 1:00pm tomorrow.
“There is a stalemate, as the main opposition party and the Madhes-based parties have contradictory demands.
So it may take time to make both the sides realise the ground reality and go for elections,” said CPN-Maoist Centre’s leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha. Differences in vision, ego and individual political interests of the parties have prolonged the stalemate, he added.
On December 13, the top leaders had agreed to announce dates for civic polls. But that too has not been done.
In a meeting with the ruling parties, Madhes-based parties threatened not to allow civic polls without amending the constitution. The Madhesi parties said they would accept the bill only after desired changes.
They added that they were not ready to conduct civic polls by putting the amendment process on hold and would not accept the report of the Local Bodies’ Restructuring Commission until their other concerns were addressed.
Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar had postponed Monday’s House meeting till tomorrow afternoon expecting that the parties would continue dialogue and find a solution till the next House meeting.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is responsible for continuing dialogue and finding a solution, has been outside Kathmandu to participate in programmes of CPN-MC. He participated in training in Surkhet and a mass meeting in Humla yesterday and attended another training in Dhangadi today.
He returned to Kathmandu from Dhangadi this evening and is scheduled to go to Dhading to participate in a programme tomorrow after a cabinet meeting in the morning.
Sources close to the PM say he is not willing to hold talks, as the main opposition party, CPN-UML, is adamant on withdrawing the constitution amendment bill but insists on holding civic elections.
The PM today told the gathering at Dhangadi that elections were not possible without amending the new constitution.
The speaker said, “Since the parties have been holding talks, I won’t allow the bill to be tabled amid obstruction tomorrow. I hope the parties will strike a compromise although it might take some more days,” she told THT.
CPN-UML parliamentary party deputy leader Subas Chandra Nembang said the UML was adamant that the constitution amendment bill should not be tabled, as it was against national integrity, sovereignty and interest of the country and her people.
“It seems that the government is not willing to hold elections. Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba is saying that the polls should be held under existing structure while the PM is saying that the elections should be held under new structure.
Madhes-based parties have been saying they are not ready to accept the report of the Local Bodies’ Restructuring Commission. The PM is not providing time to LBRC to prepare its report. He only berates the UML at public forums,” rued Nembang.
A version of this article appears in print on December 22, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.