Yuba Nath Lamsal
It is almost certain that the Constituent Assembly will deliver a new constitution. Nepal will get the new constitution written by the elected representatives of the people within a few days. The Constituent Assembly has unanimously adopted a proposal expressing its commitment to promulgate the constitution on September 20. Although their past tract records gives us a little room to trust the political parties and their members in the Constituent Assembly that they would really live up to their promises. However, this time, they are serious and they appear more committed and serious to deliver what they have promised.
It is true that the remarks and commitments of the political parties and their leaders have least matched with reality in the past. Many of their commitments concerning the constitution making have been breached. Right from the beginning, the commitments of the political parties and their representatives in the Constituent Assembly have never been met. The first Constituent Assembly failed to deliver the constitution within the promised period of two years. Instead, the Constituent Assembly extended its tenure for another two years, which was against the initial promise made to the people that they would give the country a new constitution within two years after the election was held. But, even after the extension of the tenure of the CA for two additional years, the elected Constituent Assembly failed to live up to its promise instead it saw its demise at the last minute. The dissolution of the first CA necessitated another election for the second Constituent Assembly election. As a result the elections were held in November 2o13, which saw different equation in the CA.
In the first CA, the Maoists had been the single largest party with more seats than the combined strength of the second and third largest parties namely the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML. However, the November 2013 election produced different kind of power equation with the Nepali Congress emerging the largest party, although it still was short of even simple majority let alone the two-thirds required for the passage of the constitution. The CPN-UML emerged as the second largest party only with a few seats less than the Nepali Congress. The Maoists fared poorly with third position in the CA but its strength and number of seats are far less than that of the second largest party. Despite the change of equation in the CA, the ruckus continued which prolonged and delayed the constitution writing process. During the election for the second constituent assembly held in November 2013, all political parties had promised to the people that they would give the country a new constitution within one year after the election. However, they failed to live up to their promises and could not deliver the constitution in one year. Now it has become almost two years since the elections were held. Coming to this time, the parties appear to be more serious in delivering the constitution. Although different parties had their different standing on some key issues, the devastating earthquake that caused untold miseries in Nepal brought the major parties closer and together to tackle the challenges facing the country including the political crisis as well as the one posed by the earthquake. This was reflected in the common and collective resolve to overcome the numerous challenges facing the country. The key parties signed a 16-point agreement which stated their common and compromised position on some key issues and accordingly deliver the new constitution.
As per the 16-point agreement, major political parties had promised to deliver the constitution by mid-August, but it got delayed due to some conspiracies hatched both at home and abroad. Despite plots to derail the constitution writing process and fail the ongoing political process of Nepal, the key parties appeared determined to give the country a new constitution under any circumstance institutionalizing most of the agendas and achievements of the Jana Andolan II and ensuring political stability in the country. As a result, we will be able to get the new constitution within a few days, possibly by September 20.
Despite their lackluster performance and power-centered and partisan attitude demonstrated by political parties in the past, which unnecessarily delayed the constitution-writing process for more than eight years, the key parties namely the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist have finally realized their responsibility and acted in a responsible manner taking the national necessity and interest at the top of their agenda. Even now some ethic groups and Madhes-centered parties are trying to obstruct this constitution making process, which some attribute to the instigation of some external forces and powers. However, these sinister designs are not likely to succeed as key parties are committed to this process and overwhelming majority of the country has backed the process initiated by the major political parties. The country indeed is in need of a new constitution and the current political transition in the country must be put to an end by delivering a new constitution from the Constituent Assembly. This will not only settle the decades-long agenda and issue of the constituent assembly but will also give an amicable outlet to the political crises facing the country. As far as the genuine concerns and disgruntlements of some ethnic groups and people are concerned, they can still be addressed by effecting some amendments in the constitution. Heaven will not fall even if their concerns are not accommodated in the constitution at present because there will still be rooms for amendments in future to accommodate the genuine demands of the disgruntled groups and parties. Moreover, given the situation of the country and political equation in the Constituent Assembly, concerns of all groups and parties are not likely to be addressed and accommodated. Moreover, the present agitation in Terai is clearly seen as instigation by external forces and this should be immediately halted in order to safeguard out national unity, sovereignty and independence. It is the duty of every patriotic Nepali to foil such kinds of sinister designs and maintain our national unity at the time of this national crisis. Against this background the key political parties have demonstrated unity and firmly stood against external conspiracies, which is praiseworthy. Nepalese people are strongly behind them as the promulgation of the new constitution is the need of hour in Nepal, to which every responsible citizen and genuine friend of Nepal must extend constructive cooperation. This is the time the role and intention of all including political parties and every citizen are in serious scrutiny and crucial test. We need to contribute from our respective side to this process and help the country steer out of the political quagmire.