RAM KUMAR KAMAT
KATHMANDU: As many as 296 Constituent Assembly members from several political forces, including the Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Madhesi parties, today signed a four-point demand relating to restructuring of the state and submitted it to Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal who heads the Problem Resolution Sub-Committee of the Constitutional Committee.
According to Maoist lawmaker Suresh Ale Magar, one of the lead signature campaigners, 160 CA members from the UCPN-M, 46 from UML, 16 from NC and others from Madhes-based and fringe parties have signed the charter of the demand. He said they could have easily mustered more signatures had they had enough time.
The CA members are against the 11-pradesh proposal on which the UCPN-M, NC and UML have agreed. Another Maoist leader Dev Gurung said the opposing lawmakers have demanded that the federal units be carved out along the lines of reports of CA’s thematic committee and State Restructuring Commission that have ensured single ethnic identity-based federalism. They also demanded fully proportional representation in all the state bodies. Similarly, they have also called for autonomous ethnic units for extremely marginalised communities. Earlier today, Maoist leader Barshaman Pun had held talks with UDMF at Singha Durbar.
Ale Magar said the signature campaign reflected the mood of the CA which the Problem Resolution Sub-Committee should take into account before resolving contentious issues related to federalism.
UDMF leader Rajendra Mahato said Madhesi CA members and other lawmakers representing ethnic communities were united on matters of federalism.
UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal objected to the decision of the lawmakers who were going against party’s official line. “They can express their private opinions and I am not informed about their opinion of going against the party line on the issues of the new constitution. But, if any member of my party goes against the party line, it will be objectionable,” added Khanal.
Meanwhile, MJF-Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav today sent a proposal to UDMF leader Mahantha Thakur, requesting the Madhesi front to join the ongoing street movement launched by the Broader Madhesi Front. “Thakur is personally positive about my proposal, but I do not know what UDMF will do,” said Yadav, adding that there was a need for unity among Madhesi forces to safeguard Madhesis’ rights.