THT 10 years ago: Parties split over dividing 48 seats in interim legislature

Kathmandu, January 9, 2007

With the interim constitution slated to be promulgated on Monday, moves are afoot among political parties to have a bigger share from the 48 seats in the interim legislature originally set aside for members of civil society.

The decision on the issue will be taken in a day or two. While political leaders belonging to the Seven-Party Alliance and fringe parties are downplaying the issue saying it will be sorted out in no time, the ‘stampede’ for the seats is understandable.

“The Prime Minister has been entrusted with the task of coordinating on the issue,” said Nepali Congress (D) leader Dr Minendra Rijal said, conceding that the meeting in this connection was going on among only a section of the alliance. Dr Rijal, while addressing another programme, suggested that the issue of 48 seats be made inclusive in terms of region, language, community, and caste and finalised through discussion.

The formula being pushed by the CPN-UML has it that three big parties NC, CPN-Maoist, CPN-UML should be given 10 seats each, while four fringe parties like United Left Front (ULF), Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP), Jana Morcha and Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi) be given four seats each.

While this adds up to 48 seats in all, the Rastriya Prajantantra Party (RPP) is the only party which is not being given any seat from the 48 seats.

Vehicles’ ownership not clear

Vehicle entrepreneurs are facing difficulty as the Nepalgunj Custom Office is yet to decide about 46 jeeps, which were seized by the office four years ago.

The custom office had taken under control 46 jeeps in October/November of 2002 citing the jeeps were imported cheating custom charges. “The office is yet to decide either the vehicles be returned to the concerned entrepreneurs or not,” a victim entrepreneur Chandra Prasad Bhusal said, adding: “We have staged many protest programmes for a month to draw the government’s attention to solve the problem.

The government assured to solve our problems however it is yet to be solved.” With the help of the Maoists and the leaders of the seven political parties, the entrepreneurs had forcefully taken out the vehicles from the custom office premises on August 3, 2006.

“When the government assured to solve problem shortly, the vehicles were sent back to custom office again. However it is yet to be solved,” Bhusal said. The condition of vehicles is deteriorating day by day due to heat and rain because they are kept under the open sky, said the vehicle entrepreneurs.

The government has assured to provide vehicles to the concerned entrepreneurs taking appropriate tax after evaluating the vehicles.