Nepal to table Constitution amendment bill before September 15

Kathmandu [Nepal], Sep. 10 : The Nepal Government is preparing to register a Constitution amendment proposal in parliament before September 15, the day when Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is scheduled to embark on his India visit.

The agitating Madhesi and Janajati forces, which have been pressing for constitution amendment, have demanded that the government table a proposal to that effect in Parliament before Dahal's visit to India, reports the Kathmandu Post.

The demarcation of federal boundaries is one of the issues that the amendment proposal will try to address.

Madhesis have been protesting for a long time for amendment in the seven-province model proposed in the new Constitution that divides their ancestral land and politically marginalizes them.

The Madhesi parties had extended support to a new alliance of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress (NC) only because they had promised to address their concerns by amending the Constitution.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Bimalendra Nidhi, under whose coordination the proposal is being prepared, said on Friday that the government is in a bid to find a meeting point before the proposal is tabled.

"We are trying to seek a meeting point with Madhesi, Adivasi, Janajati and other groups. We are trying to make the constitution acceptable to all," he said. Other issues that the amendment proposal will try to address include, Holding key state positions by citizens by descent and naturalised citizens is yet another issue, issue of representation in the Upper House, ensuring citizenship for foreign women married to Nepali men and working language of the provinces among others.

The governing CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress have agreed to shorten the list of citizens who can hold key positions.

The agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha has been demanding that representation in the Upper House should be made on the basis of population.

According to the constitutional provision, each province will send eight-eight members for the Upper House which the Morcha has been objecting to.

However, Minister for Law and Justice Ajay Kumar Nayak said, "There is no such urgency that the amendment proposal should be tabled before the prime minister's visit to India, but we are making our best efforts.".

Source: ANI