'There can be referendum for certain issues but it wasn't in the deal inked with Raut'
KATHMANDU, March 12: Prime Minister K P Oli has clarified that the 11-point deal signed with CK Raut on Friday included no agreement on conducting a referendum on the issues he has raised.
The government and secessionist activist CK Raut had reached the deal after the latter agreed to renounce his secessionist movement.
The prime minister, addressing the 18th anniversary of the National Security Council on Monday, said it wasn't that a referendum can never be practiced.
“We can go for a referendum to resolve certain issues but there are certain matters on which we can't do referendum, such as if these go against the national interest, the country's territorial integrity, and national sovereignty,” he said. “In the agreement that we signed to bring a separatist group into the mainstream, we haven't used the word referendum.”
Stating that a referendum is the pinnacle of democracy and it can be carried out over issues within the parameters of the national interest, Oli urged not to be confused over the R word.
Oli's remarks come after political leaders from both the ruling and opposition parties questioned the government over its agreement with Raut and whether it had accepted a demanded for a referendum on secession.
The government inked an 11-point deal with Raut on Friday under which he renounced his campaign for secession. But after Raut's supporters appeared with the same slogans of secession in Janakpur Sunday, the government came in for criticism for using dubious language in the agreement.
Oli was of the view that the decision of a separatist force to join mainstream politics and renounce its secessionist campaign should be accepted positively. “Questions have been raised about the government giving such importance to a minor force, but the issue of secession is no small matter,” Oli said, defending the agreement.
Stating that some forces in the country appeared paranoid after the government's agreement with Raut, Oli said national security concerns should be judged through multiple perspectives.
Oli further said that the republic and the new constitution were also the outcome of the people's mandate.
He came down heavily on the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party Nepal for acting at the behest of external forces .