Tuesday, March 28, 2023
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Madhesi parties on board, Nepal hopes to amend constitution over new map by next week

Nepal’s Defence Minister Pokhrel says the country will resolve the border row with India ‘through dialogue’ without deploying the army.

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New Delhi: With nearly all parties on board Tuesday, the K.P. Sharma Oli government sounded confident of passing the bill to amend the Nepalese Constitution over its controversial new map and to reflect it on the national emblem.

Nepal’s Madhesi parties, which had earlier opposed the move, vouched their support for the new map — that incorporates territories under dispute with India — as the government tabled the bill to amend the Constitution at the House of Representatives (HoR), or the lower house, of the Parliament Tuesday.

The ruling NCP had failed to secure political consensus for the constitutional amendment last month due to opposition from Madhesi representatives. The Madhesi parties, which have been demanding greater representation for the community in the Nepalese Constitution, had earlier used the bill as a “bargaining chip“.

Sources in the Oli government told ThePrint that while the Madhesi parties are firm on their demands, they also did not want to be seen as not supporting the constitutional amendment bill which seeks to change the country’s national emblem to reflect the new map.

Madhes refers to the plains or ‘Terai’ region of Nepal that is contiguous with India, and is said to have an identity distinct from the country’s hilly areas.

The bill will be at the HoR for another three-four days, after which it will be taken up in the upper house of the Parliament, or the national assembly, where it might take another four-five days.

Also read: Nepal in regular touch with India over map row, date for talks not fixed yet: Minister Gyawali

‘Will solve border dispute through dialogue’  

Nepal Tuesday also made clear that it will not deploy its army to assert the country’s new position. “We will solve the border issue through dialogue with India, it is our consistent point…There is no sense in deploying the army,” Ishwar Pokhrel, Nepal Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister said, while the bill was being tabled Tuesday.

Meanwhile, New Delhi continues to maintain silence over the developments.

The bill seeks to amend Schedule 3 of the Nepalese Constitution to reflect the new map which shows the disputed territories of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani within its borders. The new political map was released on 20 May.

Also read: India silent as Nepal set to amend its Constitution to adopt new map


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