New Constitution amendment bill tabled in Nepal to woo Madhesis

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Kathmandu, April 11 (IANS) Ignoring opposition protests, the Nepal government on Tuesday registered a new Constitution amendment bill in Parliament to woo agitating Madhes-based political parties ahead of the countrywide local elections in May.

However, the Madhesi parties boycotted house proceedings on the ground that the new proposal failed to redress their grievances. They said any proposal that fails to take care of their longstanding demand on provincial boundaries will be unacceptable.

The tabled proposal says that changes in the provincial boundaries will be looked into by the new Federal Restructuring Commission.

The main opposition Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxists-Leninists) also expressed displeasure over the new proposal.

This is the second attempt by the Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ government to address the grievances of the Madhesi groups since they launched their movement against the new Constitution promulgated in the Himalayan nation in September 2015.

Earlier, the government had registered a similar proposal in the house on November 29, 2016, assuring that their demands/grievances pertaining to discrimination in citizenship provision, language, changes in provincial boundaries and making the Constitution more Madhes-friendly would be taken care of.

After the Madhes parties opposed the bill by saying it fell short of fulfilling their demands, the government has come up with the new proposal.

The Madhesi parties — demanding redressal of their grievances — have warned that the authorities will face difficulties in conducting the local polls.

“We have not seen the (new) proposal. If the new proposal is tabled as per our demands, we will support it in the house and take part in the local elections. Otherwise, we will oppose it,” ” said prominent Madhesi leader Laxman Lal Karna.

He said Madhes contributes over 52 per cent of Nepal’s total population, and should have a fair share in political power at the local level.

–IANS

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