Parties still at loggerheads over state restructuring
KATHMANDU, April 28: The major political parties are still at loggerheads over the issue of state restructuring despite stepping up their negotiations on major disputes in the constitution writing.
The 10-peovince model that the UCPN (Maoist) proposed at the inter-party talks on Thursday drew widespread criticism from non-Maoist parties. They criticized the Maoists for taking the ethnic identity as the sole basis and overlooking economic viability that was crucial for sustainability of a province.
But the seven-province model proposed by Nepali Congress (NC) couldn’t impress other parties either. Leaders from UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based parties turned down the NC’s proposal outright at the inter-party talks on Friday.
UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal argued during the talks that they would revert to their stance on the 14-province model that was endorsed by the majority members of the CA’s state restructuring committee if other parties were not ready to accept the Maoist’s 10-province model.
Maoist leaders argued that they floated the new model believing it to be a mid-point. “If you reject our new proposal and come up with other models we will also insist on the 14-province model, which we haven’t officially discarded so far,” a NC leader present during the talks quoted Dahal as saying.
NC parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Paudel claimed that his party had to come up with seven-province proposal based on ethnic federalism in breach of the understanding reached during the Hattiban talks.
“Today Maoist leaders said that they would revert to the 14-provincee model,” said Paudel. Top leaders from major political parties had reached an understanding on six to seven provinces during the Hattiban talks.
Paudel accused the Maoists of trying to further complicating the issue of state restructuring and of not working sincerely to resolve the matter.
Also, leaders from Madhes-based parties fiercely criticized the NC’s proposal. Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party (TDMP) leader Hridayes Tripathi termed the NC’s proposal as ‘the most unfavorable model’ for Madhes.
Similarly, Chairman of Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic, Bijay Gachchhadar said the NC’s proposal wasn’t acceptable to all.
Meanwhile, top leaders of CPN UML came under fire at the party’s central committee (CC) meeting that was underway till late Friday when they briefed the party’s CC members that the major parties were close to a deal on state restructuring with around seven provinces in the country’s new map.
Leaders from ethnic communities including Prithivi Subba Gurung fiercely criticized the party’s top leaders including Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and KP Sharma Oli as they informed the CC members that they are likely to settle the number of provinces at around seven.