POLITICS Looming Deadlock

Despite efforts of two major ruling parties, UCPN-Maoist and Nepali Congress, there is no sign that the constitution will be amended to accommodate Madheshi demands

Oct. 4, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol 10, No 5, October 7 (Asoj 21, 2073)

If the recent actions of prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal are any indication, they show that he is leading the country nowhere. Contrary to Madheshi’s demands, prime minister Dahal agreed to restructure the local bodies as per the constitution as proposed by Nepali Congress and CPN-UML.

In a meeting, the three parties agreed to direct the Local Body Restructuring Commission to formulate the local bodies, making the current Unit as a village Council despite vehement opposition of the Madheshis.

However, prime minister Dahal has made another agreement with Madheshi leaders to table the constitution amendment bill as per their demand in parliament.

In case the prime minister tabled the constitution amendment bill with the commitment made to Madheshi, two major parties, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, will oppose the government.

As a cabinet minister already directed the high-level commission to work as per the agreement of three parties to restructure the local bodies.

Madheshis are demanding, among others, the amendment of constitution putting local bodies under the provinces. They have also demanded that local bodies are made as part of provincial government.   

Although prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been repeatedly saying that his government will table the constitution amendment bill in Legislature Parliament to address the issue raised by Madheshi, Tharus and Janjatis, the prime minister is also proposing to restructure the local bodies as per the constitutional provisions against which are Madheshi , Tharu and Janjati’s are against.

As prime minister Dahal is trying to balance both sides, he is losing his own credibility as the most unreliable leader. “Although we have already lost faith on prime minister  Dahal, we will give him another one month till Chhath. After the festival, we will launch the joint agitation against the government and withdraw the support to the government,” said Rajendra Mahato, leader of Sadbhvana Party. “Prime Minister Dahal expressed his commitment that the constitution will be amended to fulfill our demand.”

Main opposition CPN-UML has already objected to the commitments made by Prime minister to Madheshi front. “ We have a clear stand regarding the amendment of constitution. Constitution cannot amended to fulfill the whim of  certain groups. This constitution will be amended only after the completion of three phases of elections,” said K.P. Sharma Oli, addressing his party cadres.

As per the constitutional provision, the government needs to hold the three elections by January 2018 to implement the new constitution. If the government fails to do so, there will be a big constitutional crisis.

“This government is committed to hold the three elections by January 2018 and implement the constitution,” said Nepali Congress leader and minister of Physical and Transport Management Ramesh Lekhak.

The war of words between the two factions is yet to die despite efforts. Given their constitutional and political stands, it is any breakthrough is unlikely anytime soon.

If the differences continue and three parties continue to push the agenda of three elections without addressing the demands of Madheshi, Tharus and Janjatis, a major political crisis will ultimately push the country into another turmoil.

Having a constitution without legitimacy, Nepal can see a major political crisis anytime soon. “We will launch a massive agitation after Chhath which will wipe out all big three from power and constitution will collapse,” said Upendra Yadav leader of Madheshi Morcha. As differences among the parties are widening, Nepal will land into another political turmoil.



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