Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli (Republica file photo)
KATHMANDU, Nov 4: With the fast approaching deadline set by himself for registering a constitutional amendment proposal in Parliament, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Friday held a meeting with CPN-UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli to solicit the support of the main opposition party.
The meeting held between Dahal and Oli at the office of Speaker Onsari Gharti at Singha Durbar was focused on garnering a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament for the constitutional amendment and on endorsing the impeachment motion against suspended chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Lokman Singh Karki. The impeachment motion filed jointly by the UML and Maoist lawmakers is currently under discussion in Parliament.
Dahal, who is also chairman of the CPN (Maoist Center), sought the support of the second largest political party in Parliament to address the grievances of the agitating Madhes-based political parties, said Dahal’s press advisor Govinda Acharya. Earlier, Dahal had assured the Madhes-based parties that the amendment proposal would be registered in Parliament by the Chhath festival, which concludes on Sunday.
“The prime minister urged the UML chairman to support the constitution amendment without looking upon it as a task for a ruling or an opposition party,” said Acharya after the meeting. Soliciting UML support for the amendment, Dahal reiterated that all the political parties should stand together for the implementation of the new Constitution, while addressing any grievances concerning the national charter, he said.
In the hour long one-to-one meeting, Oli sought a draft of the amendment from the government side, according to his press aide Pramod Dahal.
“The CPN-UML has a clear position on the amendment. If the government or the ruling parties come up with a justifiable proposal, our party is always ready to discuss it,” Dahal quoted Oli as saying in response to the prime minister. UML Chairman Oli also accused Dahal of blaming the UML for blocking the amendment without even consulting the UML on the matter during the three months into his office as prime minister.
The prime minister also briefed Oli about the government’s preparations and its dialogue with the agitating political parties on the contents of the amendment proposal.
Sources said the government is currently working on the amendment proposal. While the government is preparing to entrust the Language Commission with the responsibility of settling whether to include Hindi as an official language, it is also mulling inclusion of same provisions of the interim constitution to address the citizenship-related demands. The government is also preparing to settle the number of members of the National Assembly on the basis of population, after guaranteeing certain quotas for all the provinces.
“Agitating United Madhesi Democratic Front (UDMF) leaders are also positive over the preparations made by the government so far,” another close aide to Dahal said. The government has solicited the UML’s opinion about resolving the provincial demarcations dispute. However, the UML has been reiterating that the provincial demarcations shouldn’t be revised.
The two leaders discussed soliciting the support of the largest political party in Parliament, Nepali Congress (NC), on the impeachment motion against Karki, after the return of NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba from his India visit.