Nepal’s lower house to vote on new map on June 13 as Madhesi party offers support

Nepal’s foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali points to a map of Nepal during an interview with the in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, June 9, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

The Lower House of Nepal’s Parliament will vote on Saturday on the Second Constitution Amendment, which gives legal status to the updated map of the country.

Sources in Kathmandu said the Parliament Secretariat had included the last round of discussion and voting by members on the map, which claims Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh of Pithoragarh district, for the day’s schedule.

The Bill generated lively discussion over the last few days with Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli offering his comments on the territorial disputes with India, on Wednesday. It is expected to get almost full support of the lower houseor the Pratinidhi Sabha, which has 275 members.

Adequate numbers

Apart from the ruling Nepal Communist Party’s 175 members, the main opposition Nepali Congress has extended support of its 63-member block for the amendment. With the turnaround of the Madhesi parties, the amendment is expected to get almost full support when it comes up for voting in the house, which has 275 members.

Also read: Cross-party backing in Nepal for new map

The biggest turn around in the last few days has been by the Madhesi members of the house, many of whom spoke in detail about discrimination suffered by the community in Nepal.

The Madhesi MPs temporarily tried to modify the bill by including clauses relevant to the people of the plains or the Madhes region. However, just earlier this week, the Madhes-focused parties merged and formed a nationally oriented outfit, the Janata Samajvadi Party, Nepal. It is understood that the Madhesis were under pressure from the other members to give up their regional focus and speak of pan-Nepal issues. The combined strength of the former-Madhesi block is of 34 members.

National agenda

“We are no longer just Madhesi parties; we have combined the Rastriya Janata Party with the Samajvadi Party-Nepal and formed JSP-N, a national party and have submitted documents of merger to the Election Commission of Nepal,” said Rajendra Mahato, one of the senior office bearers of the new party. He indicated that a decision has been taken that the 34 members of the new formation which also includes former PM Baburam Bhattarai will vote for the amendment on Saturday.

Also read: Nepal tables amendment for new map as rift with Madhesis re-appear

“From now onward, we will highlight the national agenda and will not be limited to the Madhes region,” said Mr. Mahato who played a key role in the Madhesi agitation of 2015-16.

With the turnaround of the Madhesi parties, the amendment is expected to get almost full support when it comes up for voting.

Also read: Why are India and Nepal fighting over Kalapani?

Clearance by the lower house will pave the way for including the new map of Nepal in the emblem of the Nepalese state and on other items like academic text books.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 4:20:15 PM |

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