Amendment at behest of another country objectionable: CPN-UML

Published On: August 25, 2016 12:40 AM NPT By: Sangeet Sangroula  | @SangeetJourno

-Discussions on Nepal's constitution amendment in foreign land objectionable
-Govt breached diplomatic norms while sending special envoys
-Govt trying to undo Oli-led govt's deals with China

KATHMANDU, Aug 25: The main opposition party, CPN-UML, has taken the new government's preparations to amend the constitution “at the behest of a certain country” and holding discussions on the matter in a foreign country as objectionable activities.

“The country's principal law [constitution] can't be amended based on uncalled for concerns of a certain country,” read a statement issued by the second-largest party in a press meet at the party head office in Kathmandu on Wednesday. “Moreover, it is objectionable that discussions on the matter are being held in foreign land while holding no discussions within the country.”

The party leaders said that changes can be made to the constitution but it should be done based on the needs felt by Nepal's political forces and other stakeholders, not by external elements.

“This should be done by Nepal's political parties because this is our country's internal affair,” Ishwar Pokharel, the party general secretary, said at the press conference.

The party has also demanded that the government should make public the letter which was reportedly sent by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi about Nepal government's plan on constitution amendment.

Deputy Prime Minister Bimalendra Nidhi, who visited India and met Indian Prime Minister Modi and other top officials earlier this week, had reportedly handed over Dahal's letter to the Indian establishment.

“This is a mistake committed by the government as such a move would invite external involvement in Nepal's internal affairs,” he said.

The party has also taken strong exception to the government's recent move to send two deputy prime ministers to the two neighboring countries as special envoys of the prime minister, to brief the northern and southern neighbors about the government's plan and policies.

Nidhi of Nepali Congress was sent to Delhi and DPM Krishna Bahadur Mahara of the prime minister's party CPN (Maoist Center) was sent to China as the prime minister's special envoys.

The party said such a move was against even the basic diplomatic principles and it took place even before the cabinet was given full shape and foreign minister was appointed.

The UML has said that the new government's initial decisions taken within weeks of its formation has indicated that the Dahal-headed coalition is bent on undoing several initiatives taken by the previous UML-led government on establishing balanced bilateral relations with both the neighboring countries.

UML leaders claimed that the agreements signed with China by the KP Oli-led government were historic achievements of Nepal with regard to correcting Nepal's foreign trade that had remained hugely dependent only on India for ages.

“All these activities are done mainly with a plan to undermin the historic agreements signed with the Chinese government and undo the achievements,” said Pokharel. “All these activities are happening with a plan to send a message that Nepal can't do anything on its own and to cause humiliation to the Nepal people.”

On the issue of local units restructuring, the UML has reiterated that the number of local units should be as proposed by the government-formed commission that is tasked to fix the numbers and boundaries of local units.

“This is a constitutional body and formed by the government. Therefore, the political forces should accept the suggestions made by the body,” said Pokharel. “Not to accept its recommendations is tantamount to challenging the new constitution and inviting further new complications.”

The commission has proposed creating 565 local units but the ruling NC and some other political parties are demanding that the number of units should be at least 1000.

UML leaders also claimed that the ruling parties' proposal to hold local elections under the existing setup shows that they don't want to hold the local elections altogether.

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