BUTWAL, Nov 24: Miffed by the ruling parties' plan to split some districts away from province no. 5, senior leaders of major parties including the ruling Nepali Congress have threatened to protest the move, saying it would invite serious consequences. They said deciding the federal borders of the province at the top level without consulting the locals would go against the spirit of the people.
Arguing that the constitution was endorsed by an overwhelming majority of the people's elected representatives, they said the borders of the province should not be changed, given the large numbers of people opposing any plan to revise the existing federal setup.
“I am hearing that province no. 5 is being divided to appease certain people,” former speaker Subas Nembang said while addressing a function here, “This will not resolve the problem, Instead, it will complicate the issue.”
Nembamg, who is also an UML leader, promised to raise the 'genuine demands' of the people before senior leaders.
At the function, Chandra Bhandari of Nepali Congress and another UML leader, Khim Lal Bhattarai, warned of protests against the government if province 5 is divided in the course of revising the existing federal provinces. Bhandari said it was for the local people to decide about changing the borders of provinces.
Stating that other leaders have also continuously opposed the proposal to split away the districts in the eastern and far-western regions, Bhandari said he would not let the parties do this.
KP Oli and Krishna Sitaula have been repeatedly opposing the idea of including Jhapa and Ilam in the Madhes province and Sher Bahadur Deuba and Bhim Rawal were dead against dividing Kailali and Kanchanpur away from province 7 when the proposal was floated at a cross-party meeting in an attempt to accommodate demands raised by agitating Madhes-based parties and Tharus.
Bhandari of the Nepali Congress said province no. 5 was created to make it economically viable and they would not backtrack from their stance.
UML leader Bhattarai warned of serious consequences if the province was divided to address demands raised by Madhesis. “So far, nothing has happened. So, we request the government not to invite serious consequences by revising this province,” he warned.
Meanwhile, CPN (Maoist Center) leader Barsha Man Pun said he would raise the concerns of local people before the top leaders. Stating that the constitution amendment was aimed at expanding its acceptance among parties, Pun assured the locals not to worry over the constitution amendment. “We have to bring the Madhesi Morcha on board the Constitution implementation. Some of our friends are also against the amendment,” said Pun adding, “The concerns of locals will be respected.”