June 10, 2017 12:00 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, June 10: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has said that there is no possibility of constitution amendment before the second phase of local polls on June 28.
Addressing the parliament on Friday, Deuba said that though the government was supposed to endorse the amendment bill before the second phase polls, it has become impossible as the elections are very near.
"There is need to broaden the acceptability of the new constitution. But amending the constitution is not possible because the election process has already started. I believe the amendment should be passed by also garnering the support of the opposition parties immediately after the polls," said Deuba.
He said he expects that the main opposition, UML, will eventually support amendment to the constitution.
Deuba condemned the ballot-tearing incident in Bharatpur Metropolitan City by CPN (Maoist Center) cadres. He further claimed ballot-tearing however is not a new incident in Nepal. "The case is sub judice at the court, so it will be unfair to make further comment on the case now. But it was wrong, and no one says it is good," said Deuba.
Claiming that the government and ruling parties had exerted their efforts for increasing the number of local units in the tarai, Deuba said that they had to backtrack after the court ruling.
Responding to lawmakers' queries about inclusiveness in the cabinet, Deuba said it is not necessary for anyone to doubt his commitment to inclusiveness. "I have fought a lot for inclusiveness in my career," said Deuba.
He said that he will make his cabinet inclusive while giving the cabinet a full shape.
"I also request the agitating parties to take part in the polls without any doubts," said Deuba.
Speaking at the meeting before Deuba, main opposition CPN-UML parliamentary party deputy leader Subas Nembang accused the ruling parties of keeping the opposition in the dark while making long-term decisions.
"The date for local elections has been postponed multiple times but the government didn't realize the necessity to discuss the issue with the opposition," said Nembang.
He was of the view that the UML will be ready to support the government for conducting the three sets of elections within the constitutional deadline.
Agni Prasad Sapkota of the CPN (Maoist Center) said that the government can amend the constitution as it is short of only a few votes for two-thirds majority. Sapkota also urged the government to focus on holding upcoming election and concluding the remaining tasks of the peace process without any delay.
Kunti Kumari Shahi of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party said that holding three sets of elections within the constitutional deadline is a challenge for the new prime minister. She said that the prime minister should also focus on maintaining harmony among various communities in the country.
Leaders from the Madhes-based political parties said that Prime Minister Deuba has major responsibility of amending the new constitution for ensuring broader ownership of the new constitution.