KATHMANDU, July 30: The government is planning to put the constitution amendment bill to a vote in the next few days. The bill that seeks to revise provisions related to the upper house of parliament, citizenship and language has been gathering dust in the parliament since April.
Senior leaders of the ruling alliance said that the government is tabling the bill regardless of the result. But they said that the government cannot warrant the endorsement of the bill.
"The bill will be tabled for a vote soon, most probably in the next few days. The Rastriya Janata Party Nepal should go to the polls irrespective of what happens to the bill," CPN (Maoist Center) leader Barshaman Pun said during an interaction in the capital on Sunday. He said that the governing parties are making sincere efforts to ensure amendment in the first go.
However, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's press coordinator Govinda Pariyar said that the prime minister wants to put forth the bill for a vote only after ensuring the required majority.
Not many are convinced that the bill would be endorsed due to lack of political consensus. The government will at least require backing of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party to garner a two-thirds majority required to endorse the bill.
RJPN leader Mahendra Raya Yadav said that there should not be further delays in tabling the bill. He said that the party is ready to accept the result but insisted that the governing parties should give wholehearted efforts to pass the bill.
"We will not run away from the outcome but the government should try its best to garner the required support," said Yadav.
The governing parties are looking at their own electoral interests in putting the bill to vote and addressing other non-political demands of the Madhesi parties. The government on Sunday added nine more protesters to the list of martyrs as demanded by RJPN, while works are underway to withdraw criminal cases registered against RJPN protesters.
Besides ensuring RJPN's poll participation, NC and Maoist Center hope to appease the Madhesi voters ahead of the third phase of local elections. Eight districts of Province 2 are scheduled to go to the polls on September 18.
NC and Maoist Center want to make up the loss incurred by the parties in the first two phases of local polls by winning 100 and 50 seats respectively.
NC and Maoist Center also want to use the bill to "expose UML's rigid stance" against the amendment bill. In doing so, they hope to stop UML from becoming the largest party in the local elections.
The main opposition UML, on the other hand, appears hell-bent in stopping the bill because its leader think it would give the ruling parties, particularly NC, and RJPN, the upper hand in the third phase of local polls slated for September 18. UML leaders believe that the party's so called nationalistic stance against amendment might prove crucial in getting support of nationalist voters as well as voters of the hill origins.