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Constitution amendment to accomodate Madhesi demands top priority: Nepal PM Prachanda

Kathmandu: Amending the new Constitution is the top priority for the Nepal government and a federal commission will soon be formed to resolve the issue, Prime Minister Prachanda said on Wednesday, underlining the need for flexibility to accommodate demands of the agitating Madhesi community.

"On Constitution amendment, I personally feel we need to be more flexible on key issues to accommodate the demands of the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front and other ethnic groups," Prachanda told reporters on conclusion of the meeting between the ruling alliance — Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-Maoist Centre — and main opposition CPN-UML.

 Constitution amendment to accomodate Madhesi demands top priority: Nepal PM Prachanda

A file photo of Prachanda. AFP

Prachanda said that the coalition government has accorded high priority to the task of Constitution amendment and election.

The Prime Minister also underlined the need to bring on board the Madhesi parties and their alliances, which have been demanding Constitution amendment, before holding the election of the local bodies. The election of the local bodies could not be held for more than 16 years due various reasons. "We will have to redraw boundaries of some provinces and the issue of national language also needs to be worked out."

He said an earlier understanding between N C and CPN-UML on the number and demarcation of provinces could be considered a basis for redrawing the provinces for the time being. Re-demarcation of the provincial boundary is the major demand put forth by the agitating Madhesi community, mostly of Indian-origin and other ethnic minority groups.

"A federal commission will soon be formed to recommend and settle the issue of provincial  boundaries in the long run." Prachanda said the tricky issue of citizenship could be resolved by reverting to the provisions of the interim constitution.

Differences between the ruling coalition and the main opposition parties are narrowing and the three parties are nearly on the same page on the issues of Constitution amendment and its implementation, said sources close to the Prime Minister.

Talking reporters shortly after his one-and-a-half hour meeting with Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli, Prachanda said "this was the first meeting between the three top leaders after I became prime minister for the second time."

He also hinted that relations have improved among the major political forces at the recent time. "The impeachment motion against Lok Man Singh Karki could bring the three parties together to push for constitution
amendment," Prachanda said.

The Parliament has recently started discussion on motion relating to impeachment of Karki, the chief of anti-graft body. "I am now turning my focus on forging alliance with political parties, warming and normalising relations with immediate neighbours, speeding up reconstruction and giving people a sense of good governance in the run-up to the elections," Prachanda said.

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Updated Date: Oct 27, 2016 15:15:59 IST