There are many differences over the definition of a “Madhes autonomous province” and “group entry” of certain communities into Nepal Army among the top three political parties- CPN Maoist, NC, CPN UML. That has made them fail to prepare the draft of a supplementary constitution amendment bill that was supposed to address the demands raised by Madhesi political parties and ensure smooth functioning of the Constituent Assembly meeting that has been stalled for five consecutive days. “We proposed that the constitution amendment bill should guarantee right to autonomous provinces for all ethnic groups and marginalized communities,” said Maoist leader Dev Gurung, a member of the taskforce formed by the parties to resolve the issue.
The committee comprising Gurung of CPM, Bimalendra Nidhi of Nepali Congress and Bhim Rawal of CPN-UML was supposed to hand over the draft to the cabinet before it would be presented at the Constituent Assembly meeting. After the taskforce failed to prepare the draft, the CA meeting was also postponed till today through a notice. “We could not agree on how to define some terms for the Madhes autonomous province and entry of certain groups in bulk,” said UML leader Rawal. Rawal said there was difference among parties on how to define bulk entry. “If we use the term without its proper clarification, it would mean certain groups would prepare a bulk of people and ask the army for their induction,” said Rawal. According to a leader, three parties were convinced to use terms that would not give a meaning of “Madhes as a single province”. “Home Minister Krishna Sitaula said at yesterday’s meeting that the terms used in the government’s agreement with Madhesi parties before CA polls do not imply a single Madhes,” said the leader.
The three-party taskforce was formed yesterday morning as three largest parties and three madhesi parties–MPRF, TMDP and Sadbhawana Party- agreed to prepare a common position and address the madhes issue by tabling a supplementary bill for statute amendment in the CA.
Maoists UML for addressing Janajati, other group issues along with Madhes
CPN (Maoist) and UML wanted to address the issues of Janajatis and other groups also when they deal with the Madhes issue. In a meeting of top leaders of three largest parties, UML and Maoists argued that they need to pay attention to the agreements made with other ethnic groups when they address the issues raised by the Madhesi parties. “Addressing the Madhesi parties’ demands is not a remedy to the present problems as we have to consider the agreements made with other groups too,” said Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, after the meeting. He said the parties have arrived close to consensus to introduce a bill with the consensus of seven party alliance but some terminologies are yet to be agreed upon by the three parties.
UML General Secretary Jhala Nath Khanal said parties have sought a common stance on the concept of all provinces along with Madhes. “We want to make a common position on how we can divide the provinces into Himal, Hill and Madhes and go for multi-provincial structure,’ said Khanal. He said the concept of single province for madhes is not scientific and it should not be decided by three Madhesi parties. “They have secured 1.1million votes while Maoists, NC and UML have bagged 3.3 million in Madhes,” said Khanal. “It shows the actual mandate of the people.” Khanal said the parties would table the issue for voting in the Constituent Assembly and pass it by two-third if efforts at making a common position fail.