KATHMANDU: Top leaders of CPN-UML have stood for giving continuity to the party´s existing policy of adopting a multiple-identity-based seven province federal model.
The leaders airing their views at the party´s office bearers´ meeting under way for the last couple of days said that they should continue with the same stance while adopting a flexible approach for finding a middle path solution among the major political parties over the issue.
Of the total 15 office bearers, 13 leaders have already aired their views at the meeting while former party chair Jhalanath Khanal and party chair KP Sharma Oli are yet to speak on the issue.
Party secretary Prithvi Subba Gurung said that though the party chair has yet to speak and conclude the meeting, the tone of the leadership has been expressed through other leaders. “There is unanimity that the seven-province model is fit in principle and that we will not remain rigid thereby creating hindrance in constitution-making,” Gurung told. “We apparently need to become ready for finding a common ground among the major parties at the time of finalizing the number and nomenclature of provinces. We will be ready for that.” Gurung said the meeting will be concluded in a day or two.
The UML had earlier published a seven-province federal map with five provinces in the hills and mountainous regions and two in the Tarai-Madhes region. The same model was endorsed by the party´s recently-held general convention.
While there was a major dispute within and outside the party about what should be the major bases for delineating provinces, the UML decided that the federal units should be carved out based on multiple-ethnic and common identities.
The federal provinces proposed by the party are Kirat-Limbuwan-Koshi; Tamsaling-Newa-Bagmati; Magarat-Tamuwan-Gandaki; Bheri-Karnali; Seti-Mahakali; Mithila-Bhojpura-Janakpur and Tharuhat-Abadh-Lumbini.
For example, the name Magarat-Tamuwan-Gandaki includes multiple ethnic identities such as Magarat and Tamuwan while also accommodating common identity Gandaki. The argument is to accommodate the dominant community of the area while including a common name that could be acceptable for the rest of other communities in the same areas.
During the discussion at the office bearers´ meeting, some of the leaders had initially proposed that the party should go for altogether three or five-province model arguing that the people in the changed context were for delineating fewer numbers of provinces on north-south model.
“But, later they were convinced by others as majority of leaders argued that the party still can´t stand against the earlier agreed broader principle that stated identity and economic viability shall be the major bases to delineate provinces,” said a leader requesting anonymity.
The previous Constituent Assembly had determined ethnic, linguistic, cultural and historic continuity as primary bases of identity. Similarly, economic interdependence and viability, status of infrastructural development, prospect, availability of resources and administrative convenience are taken as bases for viability.
“Though some leaders argued that north-south model was the most appropriate for Nepal, they didn´t insist on the model as several other leaders reminded that the parties can´t totally ignore the demand for identity-based provinces and Madhes provinces in the southern belt,” said the leader. “If we adopt north-south model, parties need to dare to completely rule out the demand of Madhes province and accommodate the issue of identity.”
The leader said majority leaders stood for giving continuity to the party´s existing multiple-identity based model as it would address the issue of identity as well as economic viability.
The second-largest party held the discussion on the matter in its top body as major parties have recently decided to come up with their respective party´s official position on major thorny issues and to expedite the constitution-making process.
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