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Stir over amendment bill

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
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A rally in Butwal on Wednesday against readjustment of provincial boundaries. Photo: RSS

A day after the Maoist-NC government registered a second constitution amendment bill in Parliament, protests erupted in several parts of mid-western Nepal on Wednesday.

If the bill is passed by the House, five hill districts of Province 5 (Palpa, Gulmi, Arghakhachi, Rolpa and Pyuthan) will be in Province 4. And the eastern part of Rukum district, which was in province 6, will also be in Province 4.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Wednesday said the readjustment of provincial boundaries was necessary for national unity, and the country will now head towards elections. However, local chapters of political parties in western Nepal hit the streets, saying separation of their districts was unacceptable. They have vowed to continue with their protests unless the amendment bill is withdrawn.

Redrawing provincial boundaries was the major demand of the Madhesi parties that rejected the constitution pushed through by the NC, the UML and the Maoists. But the second amendment proposal has not addressed their concerns either.

The Upendra Yadav-led Federal Alliance on Wednesday rejected the bill, saying it failed to fulfill their aspirations for greater representation and warned of protests.

All Nepal National Free Students Union (ANNFS) and Youth Association Nepal (YAN) burn tyres to protest against registration of the second constitution amendment bill in Parliament at New Baneshwor on Wednesday. Pic: Bikram Rai

All Nepal National Free Students Union (ANNFS) and Youth Association Nepal (YAN) burn tyres to protest against registration of the second constitution amendment bill in Parliament in Kathmandu. Pic: Bikram Rai

The Madhesi Front has not given an official statement about the amendment bill, and was in meetings all day Wednesday. Its leaders have said they will not take part in elections.

The main opposition UML on Wednesday decided to obstruct House proceedings and carry out street protests, saying the second constitution amendment is ‘anti-national’ and ‘will ruin the nation.’

The UML has 183 seats in Parliament, and lacks numeral strength to foil the bill even with the support of 12 other MPs of fringe parties who are also opposed to the constitution amendment. However, for the NC-Maoist coalition to push through this bill, it needs support of Madhesi parties, the RPP and other fringe parties.

If all Madhesi parties reject the bill, the RPP is unlikely to vote for it. In that case, amending the constitution for a second time will be even more difficult.

Read also:

Analysis by Kunda Dixit

 

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2 Responses to “Stir over amendment bill”

  1. Shree Shrestha on Says:

    What about making Lumbini Anchal as Lumbini State and Karnali Anchal as Karnali State?

  2. Shyam Thapa on Says:

    As there are too many controversies in the constitution, the approved and to be amended, the way forward is to scrap the new constitution and start all over again. Or the Provinces adopt the one established in the Panchayat Regime, 5 development regions encompassing all races, ecological and other factors.

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