KATHMANDU, May 31: The main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC), has officially decided to extend its support to the constitution amendment bill related to the new political map of the country put forth by the government in parliament.
A proposal to this effect was endorsed by the party's Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting held till late evening Saturday at the party's headquarters in Sanepa.
According to NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma, the CWC meeting took a decision to direct the party's parliamentary party to vote in favor of the constitution amendment bill that seeks to bring amendment to the political map included in Schedule 3 related to Article 9 (2) of the constitution. The government is scheduled to present the amendment bill in the parliament meeting on Sunday for discussions.
The new map includes Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura that have been controlled by India since the 1960s even though they are Nepali territories. The new map will be part of the country's national emblem once it is endorsed through the parliament.
Spokesperson Sharma said a clear proposal in this regard has been made at the CWC meeting. The party's lawmakers shall present themselves in the parliament as per the decision of the CWC's meeting.
A press statement issued after the meeting has said that NC has been putting forth its clear views both formally and informally with Indian side that these territories belong to Nepal. Most recently, then Sushil Koirala-led government had sent a ‘protest note’ against the agreement reached between India and China to make Lipu Lekh a trading route without consultation with Nepal on May 15, 2015 and NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba have time and again put forth his views in different public forums that they are Nepali territories since India published a new political map earlier last year.
In addition to making a decision to support the constitution amendment bill related to the country’s new political map, the CWC meeting has also directed its parliamentary party to register again the constitution amendments proposal registered by then Prime Deuba in the previous House session. The three-point constitution amendment bill registered by the party earlier is related to the constitutional grievances made by various Madhes-based political parties.
Earlier on Wednesday, the constitution amendment bill related to the country’s new political map was removed from the parliamentary business as per NC's request to wait until the party could take a decision to this effect from its CWC meeting.
It requires a two-thirds majority vote in parliament to bring an amendment to the constitution. With the decision of the NC to vote in favor of the amendment bill, the government will now have the required two-thirds majority votes to amend the constitution.
While Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) has already expressed its support to the constitution amendment bill, Samajbadi Janata Party Nepal and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal have demanded that their long-standing calls for constitution amendment also be incorporated. Sources said the two parties are also likely to support the amendment bill.
During an all-party meeting on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister KP Oli urged the top leaders of all political parties represented in parliament to unanimously endorse the constitution amendment bill that recognizes the government's decision to include Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura in Nepal’s national map. PM Oli asked all parties to help unanimously endorse the bill in order to give a message of national unity.