KATHMANDU, May 10: The meeting of major political parties and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) to find a consensus federal model ended inconclusively Wednesday midnight, but the parties said they would strive to seek a consensus before voting begins in the Constituent Assembly.
Though the top leaders of the parties were supposed to resolve their differences over the federalism model and had tried to do so till midnight, they failed to even narrow down their differences.
“There was a difference over the principal basis of federalism,” said Maoist Vice-chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, when asked what led to the meeting ending inconclusively, “We argued that federalism should be based on ethnic identity while they [NC and CPN-UML] were against that.”
But CPN-UML Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam said they held the view that none of the ethnic communities will have a majority in any single state and basing federalism along ethnic lines would only invite disharmony among different ethnic groups.
“Fashioning federalism on the basis of single ethnic communities will invite accidents and the country will become disintegrated,” said Gautam about his party’s position on ethnic-based federalism.
At the meeting, the UCPN(M) and UDMF shared a common stance on the basis of federalism while the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML had their common position on federal model.
While NC and the CPN-UML argued that there should be a maximum of seven provinces, the Maoist leaders opposed that and pushed their own model.
“We argued that the number of provinces should not be less than 10 but they [NC and CPN-UML leaders] argued for less than 10,” said Shrestha about the parties’ differences over number of provinces.
Similarly, the Madhesi parties opposed the proposal of the NC and CPN-UML for more than two provinces in Tarai. They also objected to the proposal of the NC and CPN-UML for a separate province comprising Sunsari, Morang and Jhapa districts.
“We could not agree on the proposal for multiple provinces in the Tarai,” said Madhesi leader Hridayesh Tripathi.
Though the meeting ended inconclusively, the party leaders have agreed to continue their negotiations.
“We are meeting tomorrow before the voting [on contentious issues] at the Constituent Assembly,” said Shrestha, “We will try to forge consensus on federalism even after the voting starts.”
Earlier, on Wednesday morning, the parties agreed to decide the contentious issues of constitution making through voting in the Constituent Assembly if they could not resolve matters through consensus. Accordingly, the Constituent Assembly is starting the voting from Wednesday.