Statute will be amended: PM

Janakpurdham, August 18

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said the government is planning to amend the constitution to accommodate the legitimate concerns of the Madhes.

Addressing Province 2 Assembly meeting in Janakpur today, the PM assured amendment by September 19 and said, “The nation’s charter is a progressive document unlike a religious scripture or anything set in stone, hence changes can be made as and when required.” He, however, didn’t disclose what provisions would be amended.

“As a bill to grant citizenship by descent to all children of Nepali citizens has been registered at the Parliament, no one whose mother or father is a Nepali citizen will be deprived of citizenship now,” he said.

Further, the PM dismissed allegations that he had discriminated against certain community and region and asked, “How can a person who has a long history of struggle against discrimination indulge in discrimination against anyone? Even if I’ve done that, I’m ready to rectify it; or, if the nation’s charter is discriminatory, it can be rectified,” he added.

Oli dwelt on his role in lifting the blockade on Nepal during his first premiership. “Nepal was reeling under a crippling blockade when I first visited India as premier of the country. After I briefed my Indian counterpart on the real scenario, the blockade was gone by the time I returned,” he said.

“Nepal’s relations with India and China have improved as we’re committed to providing equal treatment to these neighbours,” he added.

The PM said he had provided more development budget to the province. “I’m aware of the fact that the voice of protest against me is loudest in Province 2, that’s why I’ve provided more development budget to this province,” he said. “There will be a day when a ship bearing Nepal’s flag will operate from Koshi to Kolkata. Similarly, the day isn’t far when candidates in the next election will cruise through the postal highway to canvass voters,” he said, adding that the proposed East-West railway would be first built in Province 2.

He also informed about preparations to open a medical college with the name of Ramraja Prasad Singh in Rajbiraj. “Besides the medical college in Rajbiraj, the government is planning to open an engineering college in Mahottari and set up a fertiliser plant in the province,” he said. “Though Tarai is accessible, it has lagged behind in development,” he said, stressing the need to promote agricultural productivity in the belt through modernisation.

Three PA members of RastriyaJanata Party-Nepal had boycotted the assembly in protest. The PM said the dissatisfaction of the Tarai-Madhes was not justifiable. “I don’t know who opened fire in Saptari and why when we had already wrapped up our programme and left the site,” he observed.

The PM met UpendraMahato, an RJP-N legislator who had walked out of the PA in the speaker’s office and urged him not to resort to such protest. “Though the government is committed to addressing the RJP-N’s demands, that’s not enough as the court has nullified a number of our decisions,” he said, while talking to Mahato.

Meanwhile, a few RJP-N cadres showed black flag to the prime minister in Janakpur today.