Instead of new constitution, Nepal braces for agitations

  • Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
  • Updated: Jan 03, 2015 16:41 IST

Nepal's pro-monarchy Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal threatened on Friday to launch another peoples' movement if the country wasn't named a Hindu state in the new constitution.

The party, the fourth largest in constituent assembly, made the announcement in the heart of Kathmandu after conclusion of a 10-day chariot 'yatra' across 30 districts to garner public support for the demand.

"Millions took part in our chariot campaign and they will take to the streets if the country continues to remain a secular state," said RPP-N chairman Kamal Thapa while addressing a rally.

Thapa's party, which also wants reinstatement of constitutional monarchy, may have announced agitation as a last attempt to stay relevant in changing Nepal. But RPP-N isn't alone.

With just 19 days remaining for the self-imposed deadline (by political parties) of promulgating the new constitution on January 22, several other parties have also threatened to launch agitations.

Thirty parties, led by Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) too have announced protests and strikes to prevent the ruling parties from adopting the constitution with two-third majority vote.

The protest programme includes mass meetings, region-wise strikes and will end with a nationwide strike on January 19.

Nepal's present logjam is due to differences among ruling and opposition parties on four unresolved issues—federalism, kind of government, types of election and structure of the judiciary.

Opposition parties want these issues to be addressed through consensus while the ruling coalition of Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) want to promulgate the statute through vote if there is no unanimity among the parties.

With neither group willing to make compromises at this stage, Nepal seems set to miss another constitution deadline.

Two breakaway Maoist factions, not represented in constituent assembly, have also announced protests and revolts in coming days. They want dissolution of the CA and formulation of the constitution through an all-party conference.

In view of the proposed protests, strikes and agitations, Nepal's home ministry and security agencies have already started beefing arrangements to prevent untoward incidents before and after the January 22 deadline.

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