KATHMANDU, May 1: The government’s attempt to get the much-awaited constitution amendment bill endorsed through parliament failed after over a dozen lawmakers from the ruling Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Nepali Congress (NC) deliberately skipped the House meeting on Sunday.
With the government struggling to garner a two-thirds majority in parliament to endorse the amendment bill, some lawmakers from the ruling parties surprisingly disregarded whips from their parties and skipped the parliament meeting.
After chances of endorsing the amendment bill through a two-thirds majority in parliament looked slim, the ruling parties requested Speaker Onsari Gharti to postpone House meeting.
Endorsing a condolence message over the demise of former lawmaker and Nepali Congress leader Nathuni Singh Danuwar, who was elected a Member of Parliament from Siraha in 1991, Speaker Gharti deferred the House meeting till Thursday 3 pm.
Deferring the House meeting, the ruling parties agreed to forge a broader consensus to endorse the bill in a bid to bring the agitating Madhes-based political parties on board the election process.
According to sources, 10 RPP lawmakers including Ram Kumar Subba, Resham Lama, Gita Singh, Babina Moktan Lawati, Biraj Bista, Saindra Bantawa and Rajya Laxmi Shrestha among others didn’t appear in a parliamentary party meeting of the RPP, summoned just ahead of the House meeting.
Madhes-based parties, which have been demanding an amendment to the constitution prior to the candidates’ nomination, however, said that the deferral would not end the possibilities of their participation in the local polls. The Election Commission has fixed May 2 as date for filing candidacy for the local poll. “We have not prepared for the elections slated for May 14 but we are ready for the next phase of the election if the amendment bill is endorsed,” said Laxman Lal Karna, a lawmaker from the newly formed Rastriya Janata Party Nepal.
After months long exercise, the government had finally prepared to put the amendment bill to vote in the House with revision as agreed with the Madhes-based political parties. The agitating Madhes-based parties had also agreed to take part in the local polls provided that the amendment bill addressing their demands is endorsed by the House.