Nepal PM ready to address genuine problems over Constitution

By Sarkaritel February 22, 2016 10:07

Nepal PM ready to address genuine problems over Constitution

New Delhi, Feb 22  Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli on Sunday said his visit to India was very successful and his government was ready to address any genuine problems concerning the Constitution.

Addressing a press conference here, Oli said he had not come to India with any shopping list and said Nepal works with India and China “with equal friendly feelings”.

Asked about the possibility of people in the Terai region again resorting to agitation over their demands relating to Nepal’s new Constitution, Oli said he will tell them there is no need for any such step.

He said the Nepal government has an open mind on concerns of people of Terai region.

“We are ready to listen and ready to address if there are any genuine problems,” he said. 

Oli said there was no discrimination under the new Constitution promulgated in September last year and added that his government was prepared to amend it if there were genuine problems.

Nearly 60 people lost their lives in violent protests after the adoption of the Constitution last year with agitating Madhesi political parties and ethnic groups of the Nepal Terai demanding amendments in the statute that they deem discriminatory. 

Crucial entry points from India to Nepal were blocked by agitators leading to shortage of essential supplies and medicines in the country.

Nepal blamed the Indian establishment for instigating the trouble, a charge New Delhi firmly denied.

On January 23, the Nepal parliament approved the first amendment to the Constitution to address the agitating Madhesis’ demands for proportionate representation and allocation of seats in parliament on the basis of population.

Oli said the first amendment was brought in a short span of time and it proved that his government was very flexible and wanted to address genuine demands. 

“It proves that the Constitution is dynamic, can be changed, amended according to demands,” he said.

Referring to India nudging Nepal to address concerns of sections of its people concerning the Constitution, Oli said: “The government of Nepal and people of Nepal are ready to address the genuine concerns and we understand the sensitivities of our neighbours. We are always addressing these.”

Oli lauded the Constitution and said the process of making it was very democratic but “some people do not want to go through the crux of the matter”.

He said the Constitution was not promulgated “all of a sudden” but after a prolonged debate.

Oli said the Constitution speaks of multi-parties, with periodic election and separation of powers.

“All disparities and discrimination (have been) eliminated and social justice guaranteed,” he said.

He said making comments concerning the Constitution was “a democratic right”, but the new Constitution “does not leave any such areas where people can make any comments”.

Oli did not elaborate on his one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Thapa, who also addressed the media, said the main purpose of the visit was to clear the air of mistrust and misunderstanding that has prevailed in the bilateral ties in the last couple of months.

“The air of mistrust and misunderstanding has been fully cleared. The relations have come back to normal,” he said, adding that it was a new phase of the Nepal-India relationship.

He said Oli informed Modi during their meeting on Saturday that the Nepal government was committed to resolve all issues in the constitutional and political framework through dialogue and consensus.

Modi had said on Saturday that success of the new Constitution depends on dialogue and consensus.

Oli said his visit was to eliminate every type of misunderstanding and improve traditional, historical, cultural, geographical, commercial ties.

“My visit is very successful,” he said. 

Answering a question, he said both India and China were Nepal’s friends. “With equal friendly feeling, we work with both.”

Oli visited the Tehri hydel project earlier on Sunday and is scheduled to visit Gujarat and Maharashtra during his six-day visit to India.

Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani also called on Oli in the afternoon.

By Sarkaritel February 22, 2016 10:07