Nepali Times
Constitution Supplement
Uncertainty rules

People are increasingly alarmed by the dilly-dallying of political parties in writing the constitution. "If the political parties continue to act like this, they won't write the constitution and will endanger the country's future," said participants in an interaction program organised by Himal Khabarpatrika in Itahari. Translated excerpts:

On constitution-writing
Tanka Prasad Neupane (professor):
The political parties forgot the commitments they made in the CPA. NC and UML leaders are talking of a deadline extension already. The leadership itself is not clear on key issues such as state restructuring, language and ethnicity. Unless the Maoists that waged the 'people's war' and ran a parallel government in the past are mainstreamed, the constitution cannot be written.

Ashok Tamrakar (Industries and Commerce Association): Industrialists and entrepreneurs fought for democracy and voted in the CA elections expecting the new constitution to be written and an economic revolution to take place. If the constitution is not written within the stipulated time, the people who overthrew the 240-year-old monarchy can easily overthrow the current political leadership.

Ashok Khudang (Federal Limbuwan Council): The Maoists, NC and UML are contesting for a constitution to suit their own interests. When we point out the obstacles in writing the constitution, we are labelled regressive, secessionist and communal. If they don't write the constitution on time, we are ready to give an alternative.

Laxmi Gautam (All Nepal Women's Association): Our understanding of the CA was to write a new constitution first and then to run the interim government but our political leaders seem to have understood just the opposite.

On federalism
Dipendra KC (NC):
Nationality should be at the centre in a federal system though the issues of special rights and privileges within the federal units can be considered. Topography, natural resources and social aspects should be taken into account. Creating federal units is a purely technical issue in which politics should not play a part.

Aiyebu Ansari (Nepal Muslim Autonomous State Council): No political parties have addressed the issue of the 1.2 million Muslims living in 73 districts of the country, though ethnic issues have been raised.

Padam Adhikari (Federal Limbuwan State Council): We should find a balance between ethnic and historical backgrounds and prevailing social structures in creating federal states. States should be given the right to self-determination, not a particular ethnic group. This will enable all castes to enjoy the provisions of autonomy, self-governance and special rights. On the basis of ILO Convention 169 and historical background, we have been saying the districts east of the Arun and Kosi rivers should be part of Limbuwan.

Keshab Dahal (rights activist): We envisaged federalism as a means to eliminate discrimination and the domination of a particular caste in a unitary system. This was not aimed at curbing the rights of privileged castes and giving oppressed castes special rights in the name of liberation. Nepal is a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual country but we are talking about giving special rights to particular castes and languages in a new federal set-up. If this happens, it will not be any different from in the past.

DN Mehata (MJF-D): The Madhes has been the victim of domestic colonisation. The major question is how to liberate it. Madhesi people should be proportionately represented in all state mechanisms. There should be an integrated Madhes Pradesh and Madhesis should be given the right to decide on the number of states within it.

Miliram Chaudhary (Tharu Welfare Council): Ethnic ratios should be the basis of federal units. All castes should have proportionate representation and access at central, federal and local levels.

Constitution 2010, Nepali Times coverage of issues related to writing the new constitution

1. ashok khudang
thanks himal khaber .com delhi [india] ko sambadatha ko hununcha?cantact me thanks [no comment]

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)