India welcomes amendments in Nepal Constitution

People celebrate the adoption of Nepal's new Constitution, outside the Constituent Assembly hall in Kathmandu. File photo  

India on Sunday described the first amendment of the Nepali Constitution, undertaken late on Saturday night, as “welcome developments”.

An official statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs expressed support for the legislative process, and added, “We hope that other outstanding issues are similarly addressed in a constructive spirit.”

The amendments supported by 461 of the 601 members of the Nepali Parliament covered Article 42 to ensure more inclusive social justice, Article 84, to create House of Representatives and Article 286, which will create a new process of constituency delimitation helping the Madhesi groups.

All the three elements of the amendment were part of a deal between the Nepal government and its mainstream political parties, and the rebel Madhesi political formation of United Madhesi Democratic Front (UMDF), which has been agitating for the changes in the Constitution.

The amendment process, however, did not include the main demand of the Madhesis for the creation of two separate Madhesi provinces on the plains of Nepal.

“The amendment process is a step in the right direction. But it has not addressed the core issue of creating two provinces for Madhesi people on the 1200-km-long plains of Nepal bordering India,” said Rajendra Mahato of UMDF pledging to continue struggle for attaining the provinces for the Madhesi people. The amendment process was passed without the votes of the 35 members of the Madhesi political parties, who boycotted the session.

Nepal’s Constitution promulgated on September 20, 2015, has attracted a series of amendment proposals. Saturday’s amendment was the first of the process and several others are expected to come up soon.

Devi Prasad Tripathi, Rajya Sabha member, and one of the key interlocutors on Nepal said that the amendments, though incomplete, have started the process, for the first official visit by Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli to India. “Prime Minister Oli was expected to clear the amendments before his trip to India, which is expected to be in the first week of February,” Mr. Tripathi told The Hindu.

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Printable version | Oct 13, 2021 1:37:37 AM |

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