‘Statute in present form unacceptable’


Madhesi Constituent Assembly members and intelligentsia on Monday told Constitutional Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee Chairman Baburam Bhattarai that the draft constitution was inferior even to the Interim Constitution and Madhesis could not accept it.

Speaking at an interaction organised by Bhattarai, Vice-chairman of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum–Democratic Jitendra Narayan Dev, whose party is a signatory to the 16-point deal, said if the new constitution was promulgated sans federalism, his party would not accept it.

Dev also said the new constitution should retain the spirit of the Interim Constitution as far as the issues of citizenship and demarcation of election constituencies were concerned.

“Population, not geography, should be the basis for demarcating election constituencies,” he said, adding that his party was in favour of incorporating Madhes movement in the Preamble of the constitution, and giving the Constitutional Court the power to interpret constitution and the powers to act as a powerful court, not a satellite body of the Supreme Court.

Nepali Congress CA member Amresh Kumar Singh said talking of settling federalism issue through a commission was to negate federalism.

NC CA member Chandra Mohan Yadav said it would be suicidal if boundaries of the federal units were not demarcated in the constitution.

Nepal Sadbhawana Party Chair Anil Kumar Jha said if any force believed that the Madhesis would not resort to movement against the piecemeal approach on federalism and other discriminatory provisions then they were wrong. “Madhesis are charged up for a possible movement,” he added.

CPN-UML CA member Dharma Nath Shah said Madhesi leaders of mainstream parties were fighting for Madhesi cause from their respective places and they should be recognised for their contribution.

Nepal’s former Ambassador to Denmark Vijay Kant Karna said the draft constitution was intended to give continuity to ethnic state initiated by Prithvi Narayan Shah. “This draft is full of language of threat and negativity. Sovereignty and territorial integrity have been mentioned at 24 places in the draft. Indian constitution uses these words only at once place,” Karna added.

Political analyst Tula Narayan Shah said the Unified CPN-Maoist, which fought for marginalised communities in the past, suddenly switched its support to status quoist forces, but the party should not forget the sacrifices of 54 Madhesis during Madhes uprising.

Shah said Madhesis were fighting for equality and their struggle would not stop just because the UCPN-M or any Madhesi force stopped backing the Madhesi agendas.

Advocate Dipendra Jha said the ‘or’ provision should be retained in the citizenship clause and naturalised citizens and citizens by birth should not be barred from holding constitutional posts.

Advocate Surendra Kumar Mahato said the second CA had until January 21, 2018, to do its job and wondered why parties were rushing to bring a new constitution sans federalism.

CPDCC Chairman Baburam Bhattarai said although Marxists believed that the oppressed communities had the right to self determination, it would be better if all Nepalis maintained unity in diversity. “None should support separatism,” he added.

Bhattarai said he had the impression that a complete constitution would be promulgated and boundaries of the states would be demarcated.

He said some provisions were diluted or removed from the draft constitution against the agreement which would be rectified in the final draft.