The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninst (CPN-UML) has proposed federating the country into seven provinces on the basis of capability and identity.
The party, following a nod from a national gathering of cadres, has also proposed common names for the provinces in the new federal set-up.
Party Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal tabled such a proposal on behalf of the party’s Standing Committee in yesterday’s Central Committee meeting.
The four-point proposal states that the country cannot foot the bills of a federal set-up that exceeds seven provinces.
Khanal said the proposal was made public after reviewing commitments made by the party and keeping in mind the socio-economic condition of the country.
The proposal claims to adhere to the multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multiple identity of the country. Khanal said the model and nomenclature of the provinces have re-justified the party’s earlier commitments.
The proposed provinces include Limbuwan-Kirat-Koshi, Tamsaling-Newa-Bagmati, Magarat-Tamuwan-Gandaki, Bheri-Karnali, Seti-Mahakali, Tharuhat-Awadh-Lumbini and Mithila-Bhojpura-Janakpur.
Khanal said the proposal was prepared as per the recommendation of the State Restructuring Committee.
Almost all the leaders who commented on the proposal yesterday supported the idea.
“The idea of seven provinces is an excellent one. Many viewed the proposal in that manner, but some have expressed reservations on whether the naming of the provinces came a bit early,” said Central Committee member Karna Bahadur Thapa.
Expressing serious concerns over accusations from some Janajati and Madhesi leaders of the UML that the party was an anti-federal one, Khanal said the UML was the first party that formally endorsed the issue of federalism in 2007.
The party suggested that the delineation issue be sorted out through a constitutional commission of experts.
The party’s Janajati leaders have, however, rejected the proposal, calling it “an initiation taken to establish single identity of the Khas-aarya in each province like the current unitary system.”
“The single identity-based leadership of our party has come up with the idea to impose single identity authority of the Khas-aaryas. We are against it,” Janajati leader Rajendra Shrestha said.
The party also stressed urgent formation of a national consensus government in accordance with Clause 38 of the Interim Constitution.
In the meeting, a majority of the leaders stressed on the need to promulgate the new constitution either through a commission or a Constituent Assembly (CA) that is revived.
They, however, rejected the idea of holding fresh CA elections.