The government of Nepal on Saturday secured crucial support of the main opposition party, the Nepali Congress (NC) to grant constitutional status to the updated map of the country that claims the disputed territory of Kalapani. A leading figure of the Nepali Congress confirmed that the party has decided to back the move of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and help in passing the amendment motion next week.
“Nepali Congress party today has decided to vote for constitution amendment regarding the new map,” said Dr. Minendra Rijal, a member of parliament,speaking on the phone from Kathmandu.
The meeting of the Central Working Committee that began around noon was underway till late in the evening when Mr Rijal responded to The Hindu’s questions but he confirmed that the final decision had been taken to support the new map.
Earlier reports had suggested that NC would support the government while urging it to resolve differences with India through diplomatic means.
Several groups from among the Madhesi community of the Terai region, however, maintained that they were unlikely to support the amendment as it includes only the agenda of the revised map and does not address the issues relevant to people living in the plains of Nepal bordering Indian States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Madhesi opposition is unlikely to significantly alter the outcome as the Nepal Communist Party of Prime Minister Oli can get the amendment passed easily with the support of the NC, led by former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.
“With the support of NC, the government will secure more than two-thirds majority in the parliament for getting the new map guaranteed constitutionally through the amendment. We have taken a principled position not to support the amendment as of now,” said Upendra Yadav of Samajvadi Party which has been at the forefront of struggle for the equal opportunity for the Madhesis.
The map once constitutionally guaranteed will also figure in text books and other state symbols and official documents, currency notes. Experts have said this will alter the status quo from the Nepalese side and make a future solution of the issue difficult. Nepal has accused India of taking unilateral actions like building roads in the disputed Kalapani territory. Foreign Minister of Nepal Pradeep Kumar Gyawali has urged India to withdraw troops from Kalapani-Lipulekh region and restore status quo from the Indian side.