Oppn to 'wait and see' as ruling parties bent on tabling amendment

Published On: January 7, 2017 01:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 7: The main opposition party, CPN-UML, is in a 'wait and see' mood whether to continue with the House obstructions, as the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN (Maoist Center) remain adamant to push forward the constitution amendment bill. The next House meeting is scheduled for Sunday.

The main opposition party has called a meeting with eight other opposition parties for Saturday to forge new opposition strategy as NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN (Maoist Center) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is also the prime minister, have announced in public that they will table the statute amendment bill in parliament on Sunday. The bill proposes removing five hill districts from Province 5. 

The ruling parties have concluded that the recent Supreme Court (SC) verdict paves the way for revising the delineation of provinces -- something the opposition parties including the UML call 'unconstitutional'.

While the opposition parties argue that it is unconstitutional to revise the provincial delineation without due consent from the concerned provincial assembly, the ruling parties maintain that such consent is not required in the transitional period. 

Asked if they will continue House obstructions, UML Secretary Pradip Gyawali said this depends on how the government will present itself in parliament on Sunday. “It is unconstitutional even to present a proposal concerning revision of provincial delineation in parliament. Although other proposals in the seven-point amendment bill are also wrong, they could be discussed in parliament,” said Gyawali.

Earlier, the UML had announced it would withdraw House obstructions if the amendment bill removed the proposal concerning provincial delineation. “We would definitely stage protest in parliament if the government decided to table the seven-point amendment bill without the consent of the opposition parties. Our meeting on Saturday will decide on the nature of the protests,” Gyawali further said. 

Although there are differing interpretations of the apex court verdict among leaders within the ruling parties, top leaders of the NC and the Maoist Center have decided to push forward the seven-point amendment bill after the Supreme Court declined to stop the amendment bill. “Our top leadership seems bent on pushing forward the amendment bill despite the fact that the apex court verdict clearly states that consent from the concerned provincial assemblies is a must to revise the provincial delineations,” said a ruling party leader, asking not to be named. 

The leader said although the court said it is the prerogative of parliament to discuss the matter it has also said that parliament needs to take due consideration of various Articles including Article 274 before taking such a decision. “The apex court did not issue stay order not because it is constitutional but because the parliament has not taken any decision on it. The court is likely to challenge the parliament's decision even if we push forward the proposal concerning provincial revision,” he further said. 

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