Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara has said that the Constitution amendment bill will be revised to forge consensus among political parties and hoped that it would be endorsed. “The constitution would be amended through consensus after some revision on it. It is obvious that the government’s move gets mixed reactions—support and criticism,” Mahara said, speaking at a programme in Lamjung on Friday.
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He expressed confidence that the main opposition CPN-UML would also support the revised document. “We should find consensus from there,” he added. He, however, pointed out that the government would not withdraw the amendment proposal just because it has been protested.
The main opposition CPN-UML has been protesting against the government’s move to amend the constitution. The amendment bill is aimed at carving out a new province to meet the demands of agitating Madhesis and other ethnic groups whose protests last year left more than 50 people dead.
The bill proposes to address three other key issues –citizenship, representation in the Upper House and recognition of languages spoken in various parts of the country. Madhesis, mostly Indian-origin, launched a six-month-long agitation from September last year to February this year in which more than 50 people were killed.
The agitation had also crippled the landlocked country’s economy as supplies from India were blocked. The bill proposes to list all the mother tongues of Nepal in the schedule of the constitution on the recommendation of the Language Commission. It also states that all languages recommended to be official languages by the Language Commission will be listed in the constitution’s schedule.
On citizenship, the bill proposes that foreign women married to Nepali men can obtain naturalised citizenship after initiating the process to renounce their citizenship. The bill does not say anything about the rights of the naturalised citizens and citizens by birth.
Mahara said the government will announce election date and by the time the constitution will take its concrete shape. The local body election would be held soon after the amendment of constitution, he said. “The government has been holding consultations with the political parties as part of the preparations for holding local body election,” he added.