Illogical Stand On Amendment

 

Nandalal Tiwari

Every team in any games has the spirit that it should win the game. Such a spirit is natural in the sense that devoid of this motto no team can perform well. But once one enters the play ground with pledge to abide by the rules, one should be ready to accept even the defeat. No team can say that it will call the game invalid if it does not win. Politics is also a game, a game for at least power, a game to achieve objectives of a given political party or forces. A political game is going on presently and the play ground is the parliament, and the teams of players are political parties divided into two group- pro constitution amendment group and the anti constitution amendment group. There are some players within the pro constitution amendment group who say that they will not accept the result of the game if they do not win it. What is at stake is the proposed local level election. They say they will detach from the other players, the parties in ruling coalition which has tabled the constitution amendment Bill in the parliament, and not let the local polls happen. The government which has tabled the Bill is sandwiched between the opposition party and the parties which have supported it.

Madhes demands

With a view to addressing some of the core demands of the Madhes-based parties, the government on November 29 registered the constitution amendment bill in the parliament and with a tacit consent from the main opposition, CPN-UML, the bill was tabled in the parliament on January 8. It is uncertain when the bill will be put for vote. Moreover, the UML wants the government to withdraw the bill whereas the Madhes-based parties want the review of the amendment bill or amendment to it so that some of the remaining demands of theirs are included in it

In the last two months since the amendment bill was registered in the parliament, the ruling parties, especially Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda,' have been trying to win the confidence of the two opposing political forces, the main opposition UML and the bloc of the Madhes-based parties called United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF). His efforts have been a Herculean task. For instance, on February 2, the cabinet decided to write to the Election Commission to prepare for the local polls keeping in mind that the polls will be held in between May 14-24. This decision elated the UML. But, just next day, on February 3, he had a meeting with the UDMF leaders and he was reported to have told the Madhesi leaders that the poll would be held only after taking them into confidence. He pacified them saying that the government had only wrote to EC to prepare for polls but not announced the poll date. As in the past, the UDMF leaders warned him that they would not accept poll before the constitution amendment bill is endorsed. Earlier, the PM had asked them if they would take part in the polls or not irrespective of endorsement or rejection of the bill in the parliament. But the Madhesi leaders had even then just highlighted that the constitution 'must be' amended. The UML has been opposing the amendment bill and vowing to defeat it. Because of the UDMF stance that the bill should be endorsed for them to take part in the poll, the government has been unable even to create a political situation to put the bill for vote in the parliament.

Most contentious of the contents of the amendment bill has been the proposal to extract the plains from Province No. 5 and incorporate them into Province No. 4. The UML has been terming this proposal anti-national as it seeks to detach the hills from the plains and establish the false concept that there are two main nationalities in the country. The UML is right in the sense that it seeks to detach the hills from the plains. But this party is wrong to term it as anti national, attack on sovereignty and independence. The UML should realise that the first amendment to constitution was made on January 23 last year, 2016, and that all for addressing the Madhesi demands. However, the Madhes-based parties had boycotted the vote and India, which had imposed blockade in support of the Madhesi cause, had welcomed the amendment. The amendment was for proportional representation of the minorities and allocation of parliamentary seats based on population density. The amendment was made before UML chairman and the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli visited India.

In addition to the constitution amendment bill, the UDMF has one new grievance. It is related to the report of the Local Level Restructuring Commission (LLRC). The Madhesi leaders want that the report should be revised with regard to local levels in province no. 2. It seems after the amendment to the constitution, they will raise this LLRC report issue and threaten again to boycott local polls.

Compromise

There is some difference in sports and politics because unlike in sports, both the competing teams can come up victorious through compromise. Parties can take decision to reach a win-win situation. But such a situation emerges only when two opposing sides show flexibility. And neither the UML nor the UDMF have so far shown any flexibility. Their adamancy is likely to affect the elections including the proposed local polls. If the elections are affected, if they are not held within the time frame as set in the constitution, another political as well as constitutional crisis will arise within a year. That will be very costly for the nation including the parties because they will lose public confidence again. Therefore, it would be better to put the constitution amendment bill to vote and announce the poll date. The UML should be ready allow the parliament to vote on the bill and the UDMF should make it public that the constituent parties will take part in poll no matter whether the bill is endorsed or rejected. It is illogical on any party to put something to vote and say that the voting will be valid if only the given party wins the voting.

 

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