KATHMANDU, June 13: In a show of unprecedented national unity, the House of Representatives (HoR) unanimously endorsed the constitution amendment bill to pave way for replacing Nepal’s map in the national emblem with the country’s new political and administrative map that includes Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura.
All political parties including the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), the main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC), Janata Samajbadi Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) represented in the lower house of the federal parliament voted in favor of the amendment bill. A lawmaker of Janata Samajbadi Party Sarita Giri left the meeting after House Speaker Agni Sapkota announced that her amendment proposal on the constitution amendment bill tabled in parliament had been rejected.
Of the total 275 lawmakers in the lower house, all 258 lawmakers present in the house voted in favor of the constitution amendment bill. Speaker Agni Sapkota announced that the amendment bill was endorsed as the number of legislators who voted in favor of the amendment bill was more than the required two-thirds majority in parliament.
The endorsement of the constitution amendment bill paves the way for the government to update Nepal’s map in the national emblem.
Earlier on Tuesday, the lower house of the federal parliament had unanimously endorsed a proposal to consider the constitution amendment bill tabled by the government. Lawmakers were then given 72 hours to bring amendments, if any, to the amendment bill.
Prior to the endorsement of the bill, lawmakers from the lower house took part in theoretical discussions on the amendment bill. The main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC), announced their support to the constitution amendment bill. Similarly, Madhes-based Janata Samajbadi Party also extended its support to the amendment bill.
On May 30, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shivamaya Tumbahangphe had tabled the bill for discussions at parliament in a bid to amend Nepal's constitution to update the country’s map. Law Minister Tumbahangphe had registered the constitution amendment bill at parliament after the government introduced a new political map that includes Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura - Nepali territories currently occupied by India.
The amendment bill seeks to amend the political map of Nepal included in Schedule 3 of the constitution. The new map will be used in all official documents including the coat of arms as the amendment has been endorsed through parliament.
A Cabinet meeting held on May 18 had endorsed the new political map that includes Kalapani, Lipu Lekh, and Limpiyadhura that have been controlled by India since the 1960s. The Ministry of Land Management had officially made the new map public two days later.
Nepal’s decision to endorse the new political map came after India unilaterally built and inaugurated a link road that passes through the Nepali territory earlier in March. Nepal was dismayed by the Indian side as New Delhi continued construction works and even stationed its army despite the fact that both the countries recognized that there was outstanding boundary issue in the region and agreed to resolve the issue through talks.
Nepal has maintained that Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura belongs to Nepal as per the relevant treaties and agreement that Nepal reached with the East-India Company. Sugauli Treaty reached between India and Nepal in 1816 that defines Nepal’s western boundary with India clearly states that territories that lie east of the Kali River belong to Nepal.