Vote on amendment if RJPN pledges to join polls: Ruling parties

Published On: July 19, 2017 12:15 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, JULY 18:  The ruling parties have shown their readiness to put the constitution amendment bill to a vote but demanded prior commitment from the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) to participate in the third phase of the local elections  irrespective of the bill's fate.
The amendment bill, registered in parliament in April, has been gathering dust due to lack of political consensus on the content. The bill among other things seeks to curtail the rights and jurisdictions of chief and deputy chief of municipalities and rural municipality, increase representation of state assemblies in the upper house in proportion of population and make key changes to the provision related to citizenship and language.

RJPN has made the constitution amendment a prestige issue to take part in the polls. Some RJPN leaders have long been threatening to boycott the third phase of the local polls if their concerns are not addressed.

Leaders of the ruling parties said that they are ready to table the bill without guaranteeing its endorsement. 
 “The government is ready to put the bill to vote. But the party should give solid assurance to take part in the polls,” said NP Saud, a Nepali Congress leader.
NC leader Gopal Man Shrestha said that the lack of requisite support for the bill in parliament is creating problems. He said that the government will table the bill for further processing once there is enough support.

The government last week aborted plans to forward the bill, for the second time since it was tabled, after a section of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party leaders refused to support it. 

While some RJPN leaders are reluctant to compromise, others have hinted at participating in the polls with or without constitution amendment. But they have insisted that the bill should be put to a vote in parliament before the third phase of the local polls.
RJPN leaders think that taking the bill to a vote would provide the party passage to take part in the polls.  
“It will make us easier to go to the people if the bill is put to vote. Even if it fails, it will expose those who are against the amendment,” said an RJPN leader.
Several senior RJPN leaders including Mahantha Thakur and Mahendra Raya Yadav had also lately hinted that their party may participate in the polls. 

But the main opposition UML appears determined to stop the bill at any cost. The party has taken a section of UML leaders into confidence against the bill.
Another RJPN leader Brishesh Chandra Lal said that the party was yet to take an official decision on the matter. 
“The views coming out in public are personal opinions of leaders. The party will take an appropriate decision after analyzing the situation,” said Lal. 

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