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Bigwigs stay overnight at Hattiban, discussions to continue on Monday too

N24, KATHMANDU:  Senior leaders of major political parties remained busy in joint and separate discussions on resolving contentions seen in the constitution writing process throughout Sunday and its night. And are slated to continue discussions today also at the Hattiban resort.

Senior leaders of Maoist, Congress, UML and Madheshi Front had darted to the Hattiban resort in Lalitpur on Sunday afternoon to find common grounds on state restructuring, forms of governance, electoral system, and judicial system.
They had engaged in all party meeting till 8 in the night and after holding intra-party discussion for one hour, they had again engaged in informal discussions after 9 pm.
Initial discussions were centered on the issue of PLA combatants who had opted for rehabilitation packages informed UML leader Bhim Rawal. Participating leaders had accused the Maoist leadership of doing injustice to PLAs opting for rehabilitation.
Responding to accusations that claimed that the Maoist leadership had deprived the PLAs of rehabilitation amount, Maoist Chairman Prachanda had said that the party was aware of their conditions and claimed, “ do you think we will work against their interest?” Rawal quoted Prachanda as saying.

Though leaders from all the four political parties had expressed their opinions on outstanding issues in the constitution writing process, Madheshi Janadhikar Forum-Gantantrik acting president Raj Kishor Yadav informed that parties have failed to reach consensus on any of the outstanding issues.
“ The task of presenting party’s stance on outstanding issues has been concluded but the opinions are yet to be debated, discussed and resolved,” informed Yadav, who is also the Minister for Information and Communication.
During the discussion the Maoist had proposed for retaining the fourteen state federal model presented by the CA committee for State Restructuring and Division of State Power, informed Maoist leader Dev Gurung.
“We have stressed on the need to address the aspirations of all and have urged for understanding the underlying principle even if the nomenclature is made on the basis of ethnicity,” said Gurung. “ We are proposing the nomenclature be based on ethnicity. But it does not means that peoples of other ethnicity cannot reside their,” he added.
However Congress confronted the Maoist proposal in its turn claiming such a basis would disintegrate the nation. Congress leader Dr Ram Sharan, who is participating in the meeting, informed that Congress has called for also including culture, geography, historical continuity, economic feasibility, language, and customs as the basis for federating the nation.
“ The nation cannot bear the load of more than 6 federal states. And we have demanded that the number of states be limited to six states at the most,” Mahat said.
UML laid stress on the need to federating the nation on the basis of available natural resources and minimizing the number of states as much as possible. “ While confronting ethnicity as the basis of federalism, we have proposed to federate the nation on the basis of identity and capacity,” Rawal informed. He further added that his party has called on other parties for supporting a directly elected Prime Ministerial forms of governance.

Participating leaders from the Front however ruled out the possibility to promulgate the new constitution, that does not incorporates identity based federalism.
“ Unless appropriate alternative is provides, One madhes one state should be provisioned,” all participating Madheshi leaders said. Yadav said that they have kept themselves open to any suitable alternatives provides by other parties.
The leaders, who remained in the resort on Sunday night, are expected to near consensus on outstanding issues by evening today informed Rawal.
The time allocated to political parties to resolve differences seen in some core issues of the new constitution by the Business Advisory Committee of the Constituent Assembly will finish on Tuesday.

Published Date: Sunday, April 15th, 2012 | 07:18 AM

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