New Delhi: India on Sunday hailed the two amendments to the newly adopted constitution passed by Nepal’s parliament as “positive developments”.
“We regard the two amendments passed yesterday (on Saturday) by the Nepali parliament as positive developments,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said.
“We hope that other outstanding issues are similarly addressed in a constructive spirit,” he tweeted.
The Nepali parliament approved the first ever amendment to the country’s new constitution to address the agitating Madhesis’ demands for proportionate representation and allocation of seats in parliament on the basis of population.
The amendment proposal was approved on Saturday night by a majority vote amid slogan-shouting by lawmakers from the agitating Madhes-based parties.
As many as 461 of the 468 lawmakers participating in the process voted in favour of the first constitutional amendment bill while seven voted against.
The Madhesh-based parties, under the banner of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) or the Madhesi Morcha, as it is more commonly known, are agitating in the southern Tarai plains adjoining India since after the new constitution came into force on September 20 last year. They did not participate in the voting.
“Though the step is progressive, it is not enough to meet our demands,” the Madhesi Morcha said in its initial reaction.
Madhesi Morcha leader Upendra Yadav told IANS that the constitutional amendment will not work because they were not consulted.
The leaders of the Madhesis told IANS that they would hold a meeting on Sunday and come up with an official position on amendment to the constitution undertaken by the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN-Maoist and other fringe parties.
According to the amendment, ethnic clusters in Nepal have been decreased to 15 from an earlier 17.
A delineation commission will be formed to determine the boundaries of constituencies for the House of Representatives on the primary basis of population while geography will be a secondary factor.
The Madhes region sprawling from the east to west of southern plains holds over 51 percent of the Nepal population.
At least 60 people were killed in the last five months as the Madhesi Morcha launched the agitation. Nepal faces a severe short supply of essential commodities, fuel and medicines due to blockade of major Nepal-India entry points.
Now, the Nepal government is bracing to take up the Madhesis’ demand for a change in boundaries of the seven provinces.
Nepal’s Constituent Assembly in September 2015 approved the new constitution that split the country into seven federal provinces.