KATHMANDU, Oct 12: Over 150 former Constituent Assembly (CA) members representing around two dozen political parties gathered in Kathmandu on Thursday and spoke in favor of reinstating the Constituent Assembly dissolved on May 27.
Some noted leaders from major political parties and chiefs of fringe parties attended the assembly chaired by Purna Kumari Subedi, vice-chairperson of the erstwhile CA.
A majority of those airing their views at the gathering argued that reviving the 601-member CA was the most appropriate and viable choice for promulgating the new constitution and ending the ongoing political deadlock.
Nepali Congress (NC) leader Gopal Man Shrestha and CPN-UML´s former Chief Whip Bhim Acharya said the CA could be revived for a brief period for the purpose of promulgating the new constitution. They were of the view that their respective parties are for reviving the House only after resolving the remaining disputes in constitution writing beforehand.
"Our party leaders are ready to reinstate the CA and draft the new constitution based on the five-point deal reached among the major political parties on May 15," said Shrestha. "We can seal a deal on major issues and other fundamental features of new constitution before reviving the House."
While a section of NC leadership has been consistently pressing the president to take a move for ending the political deadlock, Shrestha strongly criticized the idea.
UML´s Acharya argued that their campaign for CA´s revival was not only for promulgating the new constitution but also for paving the way for fresh elections. "Election can be held in the month of March-April if the parties agree on reviving the CA without delay," he said. "Without presence of a legislative body, we can neither go for fresh polls nor can we form a national consensus government."
He also argued that some leaders from opposition parties, by opposing CA revival, were helping the present government prolong its stay in power.
Ruling UCPN (Maoist) leader Janardan Sharma proposed to come up with aggressive programs to give momentum to the campaign. He proposed convening the next meeting in the adjoining hall where the CA´s formal meeting used to take place.
Pampha Bhusal, spokesperson for the newly-formed CPN-Maoist, said that her party would stand in favor of CA´s revival on three conditions.
"First, the Bhattarai-led government should be held responsible for CA´s untimely demise. Second, the new parties formed after the CA´s dissolution should be given unconditional recognition," she said. "Thirdly, any decision taken in understanding only among leaders of a couple of parties shouldn´t be imposed on others."
As per the existing legal requirements, any group of lawmakers splitting a party must at least command support of forty percent of lawmakers or central committee members to get the recognition as a new party. But Bhusal´s party does not command the requisite support.
Some leaders from fringe parties including Prem Bahadur Singh of Socialist People´s Party went on to argue that since the CA wasn´t duly dissolved, the CA was still in existence albeit in a state of hibernation.
Over a dozen leaders from fringe parties aired their views in support of CA revival. They said that the parties had no agenda to face the people if they go for fresh polls without promulgating the new statute. Around 150 leaders from varoius parties participated in the gathering.