Nepali Times Asian Paints
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Seesaw politics


DEWAN RAI


BILASH RAI
There are two main hitches to getting the constitution-drafting process started: finalising the Constituent Assembly's rules and agreeing on a committee to oversee army integration.

So far, house rule-making is stalled because some politicians don't want to obey the party whip on constitutional issues. The Maoist members say the whip should be followed by members for the sake of party discipline.

A meeting of the rule drafting committee on Wednesday ended once more inconclusively over the issue. "A party wouldn't be a party anymore if its members did not follow its rules," senior Maoist, Mohan Baidya, told Nepali Times. But Baidya predicted the rules would be finalised next week.

If that happens, work will have to begin on setting up various committees to draft the constitution, so that the actual clause-by-clause writing can start.

Asked if army integration wouldn't again put a spanner in the works, Baidya said efforts are continuing to get the NC to join the high-level committee on integration.

The cabinet formed a special committee after Dasain, comprising of coalition partners and the opposition NC, to discuss assimilation of the PLA into the Nepal Army. The NC refused saying the decision on composition of the committee was made without proper consultation.

"The kangresis can't run away from their responsibility of integrating the PLA into the national army," he said. The NC has demanded two seats in the committee from each party, just as the Maoists have.

Baidya says the Maoists don't want to dominate the committee just to push through their agenda on integration, but want it to work on a basis of consensus.

Law and CA Minister Deb Gurung said in Pokhara on Wednesday that if an agreement can't be reached, his party would push for a Swiss-style referendum on integration. But sources say the Maoists aren't really serious, they just want to use a referendum as a pressure tactic on the NC.

Vice President Paramananda Jha this week has been speaking out on legitimacy of the committee. His party is against integration and wants Madhesi recruitment into the army.

Baidya said Jha was way out of line: "The vice president has overstepped his brief by speaking out on a political matter."



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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