Kathmandu, May 11:
The meeting of major three parties and the United Democratic Madhesi Front held Friday to decide the names, numbers and demarcations of the federal units ended inclusively.
Emerging from the meeting, the leaders, however, claimed the parties were close to agreeing on 11 federal provinces.
Talking with the reporters, CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal said that parties were very close to agreeing on the proposal of 11-federal units. However, he informed that parties could not hammer out any tangible conclusion on other contentious issues of state restructuring.
"Parties are close to settling with 11 federal states. The discussions were focused on how federal units can be named in a non-ethnic way," Khanal said.
He expressed his confidence that parties would come up with an agreement on these issues in their meeting tomorrow.
Maoist leader Barshaman Pun said that key leaders would try to forge consensus on the issues of restructuring at tomorrow’s meeting before taking them to the House for voting.
"Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Maoist proposed for 11 federal units and parties are close an agreement on allowing respective provinces to choose their names," Pun said.
However, Pun claimed that the 11-state proposal is not final as parties still had their differences.
The next meeting of the parties is scheduled for 8 am tomorrow.
Earlier, three major political parties UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML came closer to a consensus about the number of provinces.
According to leaders, the bilateral meeting between the NC and UCPN-Maoist and CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist were close to a consensus to establish 11 provinces through the new constitution.
A meeting between the NC and Maoist held at the residence of Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ in Lazimpat failed to ascertain the names of provinces but agreed to be flexible about the 11-province proposal.
After the meeting, NC Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Poudel said that the two parties were close on the number of provinces.
He said that the NC was ready to adopt flexibility for 11 provinces but was not ready to accept single caste or ethnic based federal names.
If Maoists agreed to accept the multi-ethnic identity based federal names, the NC was ready to rethink about the Maoist’s proposal for 11 provinces, he said.
The NC demanded identity and capacity based
federal names but UCPN-Maoist took a stand in favour of single identity based federal system.
Poudel said that NC would never accept single identity as determining the federal provinces and stressed that a non-ethnic based federal system was the bottomline of NC.
He said that the ethnic and caste based federal system would invite conflicts in the country and NC was never ready to accept it.
Maoist leader Barsha Man Pun said the two parties agreed to adopt maximum flexibility about the names and number of federal units and added that the Maoist’s proposal about the names was scientific.
He said that the parties also discussed about allowing the federal units to decide their names later.
Pun said that the meeting also centered on the governance system and reached close to a consensus.
He added, "The issues will be concluded through consensus."
Maoist chairman Prachanda, Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, leader Pun, NC president Sushil Koirala, senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, vice-president Ram Chand Poudel and other top leaders were present in the meeting.
Meanwhile, the meeting between the Maoist and UML held at the Peace Ministry also came close to a consensus on 11 provinces.
After the meeting, Maoist chairman Prachanda said that the NC and UML were ready to form 11 provinces and the parties had principally agreed on the number.
He said that the establishment of 11 provinces was a big possibility. CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal said that the meeting was positive and the parties were moving on a positive track towards consensus.
UCPN-Maoist chairman Prachanda, Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai, Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, UML chairman Khanal, senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, and vice-president Bam Dev Gautam were present in the meeting.
Meanwhile, the Standing Committee meeting of UCPN-Maoist Friday decided to be flexible on the name of the federal states.
The meeting concluded that the provinces could be given the right to fix their names thorough appropriate process. The Maoist decision came amidst failure of negotiations among the three major parties and the UDMF over the names and numbers of federal constituents.