constitution

KATHMANDU, April 29: Even though various reports suggested that Federal Socialist Forum Nepal is certain to join the Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli-led government, the party backed off citing the government lacked commitment to constitution revision. CPN-UML has assured FSFN and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal to amend the constitution but the Madhes centric parties have demanded a written commitment from Prime Minister Oli. The government had intensified talks with FSFN in a bid to bring the party abroad the government, but it came to an abrupt halt after Prime Minister Oli declined to sign the joint draft agreement, prepared by the ruling parties and Madhesi parties. Focusing on these contexts, Reporters’ Club Nepal President Rishi Dhamala talked to FSFN Chair Upendra Yadav. Here is an extract from the interview:

How do you take the activities done by the province governments?

First and foremost, it is important to take into consideration about the rights privileged to province governments. Ironically, the province governments do not even have its own administration. There is no any law that operates the province governments. They don’t have any bodies. In such condition, how do you expect the province governments to function?

Does it mean, more problems have occurred after the country headed into federal system?

The most evil party of the federal structure of this country is the ‘rubbish’ constitution. As I said, how can a government without no rights function properly? It has only raised a question how the entire federal set up will move ahead.

The province governments have the right to increase remuneration, don’t they?

Salary allowances are just facilities given to a staff. How will that work? Unless the province governments have a functional body, budget and resources, they cannot function properly.

But, the province governments have not been able to do what they could, have they?

The central government is insincere. It has only defamed the province governments. But the reality is, activities aimed at ending federalism and republic is being conspired behind the screen. The province governments have become the slaves of central government. It’s all because of the constitution full of error.

The ministers of province are only busy in cutting ribbons these days. How will the country develop?

At least they have found work, say cutting ribbons. Until the province governments are privileged the required laws and powers, the only job the ministers will find is cutting ribbons.

Does it mean the country will not develop and prosper? Will the federalism fail?

It depends on central government. Unless the central government amends the constitution and makes the province governments powerful, development and prosperity in the country is no possible.

Some argue that the demand of constitution amendment is irrelevant at present. What do you say?

If the constitution cannot be revised, it should be scrapped. Present constitution cannot work at the present circumstances. Successful conduction of elections is not just enough to define the constitution the country has. In the context of Nepal, the constitution remains a failure until the province governments are granted power. This rubbish constitution has only given power and resources to central government. There is no decentralization of power. Such ruling system will not do well with people.

But India has also said ‘Okay’ to our constitution. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli on successful completion of elections, which were conduction under the current constitution.

Was the constitution written for India or Nepal? The constitution was promulgated forcefully and killing Madhesi people. The Madhesi people, indigenous communities and even international communities have rejected this constitution. Elections are held in all the countries. But, we cannot say the constitution of a country is okay just because election has been conducted in the country. The elections were held in the past as well. But why did we axe Nepal’s Constitution 1990.

The government has not been ready to revise the constitution yet, despite giving assurance. What next?

The government should amend the constitution and made it suitable to federal system. Otherwise, the people will launch fresh protest and will scrap the constitution. The seventh constitution will cancel and a new will be promulgated.

It is your conclusion that the Madhesi people will be deprived of rights unless the constitution is revised?

Even the people of hills have not enjoyed their rights. All the provinces are in the same condition. It’s not only a matter of some districts of Terai-Madhes region, but of nation. The central government is embracing centralization, monopoly showcasing the current constitution.

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