Utilise amendment proposals to address Madhesi concerns: MPs

Amendment proposals of lawmakers of Nepali Congress and Unified CPN-Maoist are close to the concerns of the agitating parties

Kathmandu, January 21

Final discussion on the Bill on First Amendment of Constitution of Nepal began today, although agitating Madhes-based parties boycotted the Parliament proceedings.

Attempts to address the agitating parties’ concerns, however, are still under way with the major parties trying to find a solution by using 24 amendment proposals registered by lawmakers regarding the bill.

Amendment proposals of lawmakers of Nepali Congress and Unified CPN-Maoist are close to the concerns of the agitating parties.

Parties are doing homework to find a common ground by adjusting proposals registered by groups of lawmakers, including those-led by NC leaders Bimalendra Nidhi, Minendra Rijal and Farmullaha Mansur and Unified CPN-Maoist lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari.

Taking part in the discussion, Nidhi said Madhesi people’s rights can be ensured by creating bases for 83 electoral constituencies in the plains and 82 in hilly and mountainous regions.

“Delineation of constituencies by making the population the major basis was practised in the constituent assembly elections held in 2008 and 2013.

Out of 240 constituencies, 116 seats were allocated for Tarai and 124 for hilly and mountainous areas.

The right of appropriate representation of Madhesi people guaranteed in the Interim Constitution was removed in the new constitution and the same should be ensured,” said Nidhi.

If anyone thinks having two or three provinces in the entire Tarai might affect the integrity of the country, it is baseless, added Nidhi.

The issue of citizenship can be resolved by ensuring that a foreign woman who marries a Nepali man gets citizenship on the basis of marital relationship after she forgoes the citizenship of her country, according to Nidhi.

“The prime minister and his party are cooperating to correct the mistakes of the constitution. I urge him and his party to be flexible,” said Nidhi.

Speaking on another amendment proposal, NC leader Minendra Rijal said his group had proposed to make population, rather than geography, of a province the major basis while delineating the constituencies.

According to his proposal, the Tarai will get 79 or 80 seats, while hilly and mountainous regions will have 85 or 86 seats.

Farmullah Mansur of NC pleaded for reducing the existing 17 clusters of backward groups to benefit from proportional representation system.

The discussion will resume at 11:00am tomorrow.

The House is scheduled to conclude discussion and put the bill to vote by Saturday.