Pact between govt, FSFN unlikely before PM Oli's India visit

Published On: April 1, 2018 06:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 1: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's "plan to take India into confidence" before making any promises to revise the constitution is likely to further delay the induction of the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) in the government.

The government and the FSFN have already prepared a draft agreement which incorporates all issues pertaining to power-sharing and revision of the statute, a precondition put forth by FSFN to join the government.  But the two sides are yet to ink the agreement.  

Leaders with knowledge on the issue said that the plan to bring FSFN on board was put on hold at the last moment on the behest of left alliance leaders who had urged PM Oli to understand India's view before signing the agreement. 

"The agreement with FSFN would take place after PM (Oli) returns from India. The government wants to know India's view on the constitution before deciding what to do," a CPN (Maoist Center) leader said on condition of anonymity.  

So far, India hasn't formally welcomed Nepal's constitution which was promulgated despite dissatisfaction of Madhesi parties. Shortly after the constitution was promulgated, New Delhi had asked the then government to carry out seven point amendment, according toa news published by Indian Express. 

FSFN leaders also said that there was no justifiable reason behind the ongoing delays in signing the agreement. They said that Oli's unwillingness to sign the already agreed draft agreement on constitution amendment has delayed the party from joining the government. 

"We are also surprised by the delays because there has already been an agreement on all issues including power sharing and content of constitution amendment," FSFN  senior leader Ashok Rai told Republica last week. 
FSFN is expected to get three portfolios in PM Oli's cabinet including a post of deputy prime minister. In the draft amendment, PM Oli has also expressed commitment to revise the constitution.  

FSFN, one of the two Madhes-based parties having representation in the parliament, has owned up the constitution albeit with reservation on some issues. The party has long demanded revision of some provisions relating to federalism. 

The party has particularly objected to Article 274 of the constitution saying that there is a need to amend the article in such a way that it would make it easier to redraw the federal boundaries in the future. In addition to that, the party has also demanded for a federal commission to be set up permanently to resolve all disputes pertaining to federal boundaries.

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