Kathmandu , May 12
Three major political parties and United Madhesi Democratic Front decided in the evening Saturday to take the disputed issues of the constitution, mainly, state restructuring and form of governance, to the Constituent Assembly for voting while seeking consensus until the beginning of the process.
The meeting, which was a culmination of a series of meetings earlier, was held at the office of Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang at Singh Durbar.
The parties said they would try their best to find consensus till the last hour.
Leaders informed that Nepali Congress and UCPN-Maoist were divided over the names, numbers and areas of the federal provinces.
Talking briefly to journalists, UCPN-Maoist vice-chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha said that NC and CPN-UML disagreed with the 11-province proposal of Maoists at the last moment.
"The parties had nearly agreed on the number but they showed differences over how to delineate them at the last moment," Shrestha said.
He said that UML and NC did not agree to Maoist proposal of giving common names with identity or mixed names, or if that was not acceptable, giving the provinces the right to decide on their names.
According to Shrestha, today’s meeting could not move ahead smoothly when NC and UML stuck to their stands that the number of provinces should be limited to eight.
"The country is now in a critical turn and we have taken the stands of UML and NC as a ploy to take the country to a communal conflict and prevent the drafting of the constitution," Shrestha said.
Recalling that the Maoists had decided to finalise the issues through constitutional procedures, he said that the work got delayed and consensus was not arrived at because of other parties.
Maoist standing committee member Barshaman Pun said that the Maoists proposed to give common names to the provinces.
"Some proposed for geographical names, others proposed to name on the basis of history or region, but we proposed to give common names," Pun said.
"We were searching for common names like Newa: Nepal Mandal or Kantipur, Koshi Kirant and Mechi Limbuwan so that the people would find a common ground," he said.
He said that all of the proposals of the UCPN-Maoist were rejected by NC and UML.
NC leader Arjun Narsingh KC said that the parties had differences with the Maoist proposals.
He said that the news report that NC agreed on 11 provinces was not true.
"We have a concept for six provinces and we agreed to accept up to eight provinces on the request of Prachandaji," KC said, "but we have not accepted the 11-province proposal."
He hinted that his party would be flexible in the number of provinces only if the parties agreed on the names and areas of the provinces.
He said that the Maoists were moving for unitary ethnic states and NC would not accept them.
"We proposed names Newa: Tamsaling as Bagmati and Koshi Kirant
Province for Limbuwan, Khubuwan, Kirant but they did not agree," he said.
He said that the Maoists wanted to give ethnic names to the provinces like Tamu Gandaki, and let the provincial parliament to decide on the names. "We cannot agree on this," he added.
KC said that NC would not be a witness to a communal conflict by giving such names.
He said that if the voting did not resolve the issues, then the country could go for a referendum.
Meanwhile, the Dispute Resolution Sub-committee has finalised two kinds of questionnaires to submit at the Constitutional Committee (CC) meeting scheduled for Sunday for endorsement before taking them to the CA for voting.
Talking with the reporters, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ said that the sub-committee had finalised some questions.
Earlier, the sub-committee headed by Maoist chairman Prachanda resolved 16 questions out of 30 and sent them to the CC; however, they have not been endorsed.
The sub-committee has decided to take these 16 questions as alternatives at the CC.
The sub-committee has decided to convert remaining 14 subjective questions into objective questions.
According to Laxman Lal Karna of the Madhesi Morcha, 30 questions endorsed from the CC would be taken in the House for voting.
Other questions would be finalised by the next meeting of the sub-committee, Karna said.
"Today’s meeting converted subjective questions of the major disputed issues-form of governance, formation of the council of minister, parliament, property ceiling, name of the constitution and fundamental rights into objective questions," Karna said.
Regarding the form of governance, a question of mixed system had been included in the four earlier questions.