NCP likely to shelve its constitution amendment bid

Published On: February 26, 2020 08:34 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 26: Under pressure from all quarters, the ruling Nepal Communist Party is likely to shelve its plan to amend the constitution to empower an upper house member to lead the government in capacity of the prime minister.

Two members of a task force formed by the party to carry out necessary homework to amend the constitution to this effect have already expressed their unwillingness to be a part of the team, piling pressure on the team coordinator Madhav Kumar Nepal. 

During a meeting with Nepal on Monday both the members—Subas Nembang and Khimlal Devkota— had expressed their inability to be a part of the task force. 

They argued that amending the constitution to serve the interests of an individual politician by going against the basic principles of the constitution will have serious implications in the long run. They have already disassociated themselves from the team.

Following the refusal of the two task force members to cooperate with him, leader Nepal reached Baluwatar to meet Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Tuesday. 

Although the details of the meeting held between the two leaders were not immediately available, one of the advisors to the prime minister said that the task force will “abort” its mission.

“The task force will not continue its assigned job anymore,” said PM’s Press Advisor Surya Thapa.

On Saturday, a secretariat meeting of the NCP had decided to nominate Bamdev Gautam as a member of the National Assembly. It also decided to form the task force for amending the constitution so that Gautam could become a prospective candidate for the post of prime minister. 

The existing provisions of the constitution do not allow an upper house member to become the prime minister.

In an attempt to project Gautam as the ‘prime minister in waiting’, a section of the NCP led by Executive Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had proposed the party to nominate him as upper house member under the president’s quota. 

But a large section of party leaders opposed the move saying that nominating someone who was defeated in the last parliamentary elections as upper house member and paving the way for him to lead the government will be counterproductive for the party.

Leaders close to Dahal had floated the proposal in the party believing that Gautam would be the best choice to take down Oli if he could be enticed with the post of prime minister, and the move could widen the faction’s influence within the party. But the attempts made to amend the constitution seem to have derailed after majority of the task force members declined to be a part of the constitution amendment bid.

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