Nepali Congress (NC) drafts model federal structure for Republic Nepal

Kamal Raj Sigdel
KATHMANDU, July 6 - A special committee of the Nepali Congress (NC) has come up with a report outlining a model federal structure which delineates 7 provinces, 225 members of central assembly and 635 state assembly representatives.

Prepared by the party's State Restructuring Suggestion Committee, the report envisions a three-tier federal government model comprising central, provincial and local governments. The report, which will have to be approved by the party's Central Working Committee, was finalised and submitted to NC President Girija Prasad Koirala on Monday.

One salient feature of this model is that it does not take into account language and caste factors as bases for state division as the Maoists have done. "We have not divided provinces on the bases of language or caste simply because that will only promote communalism," said NC Vice President Gopal Man Shrestha, who heads the committee. "If we divide provinces on the basis of language we would end up creating dozens of states and only invite chaos."
NC's state division, Shrestha claimed, is based on factors such as geographic distribution, economic viability and availability of natural resources. There are three provinces proposed in the East, three in the West and one at the centre with its headquarter in Kathmandu, which will remain the country's capital.
As per the proposal's political map, five of the states touch both India and China, which NC lawmakers say is strategically beneficial for the respective states in terms of international trade links, distribution of natural resources and demographic diversity.

The NC model does not  address the Madhesi parties' demand for a separate Madhes state. Though NC has not proposed any particular region for the Madhesis, Shrestha claimed, they could easily dominate at least four of the seven provinces, where their population is the highest despite the fact that the provinces incorporate hill districts. The idea of "One-Madhes one-Pradesh" is simply erroneous and unrealistic for the NC. "The concept itself is wrong because some communities living in the Tarai, such as Tharus and Muslims don't accept it," said Shrestha.

NC has also proposed to reserve 21 seats -- seven at the central parliament and two at each of the seven state assemblies -- for Dalits. The Dalit quota will be fulfilled by declaring Dalits-only constituencies so that non-Dalits would not be able to compete with Dalits.

As per the NC report, a representative for the central and provincial assemblies will be elected from 300,000 and 75,000 people respectively. This calculation gives up a total of 860 members of representatives to the central and provincial assemblies.

NC has proposed a mixed electoral system according to which 112 representatives for the central assembly will be elected in accordance with First-Past-the-Post system and the remaining 113 will be elected through proportional representation electoral system.
Koirala plea for unity
Koirala urged for unity
KATHMANDU: NC President Girija Prasad Koirala urged all Nepali people to stand united for the sake of the nation. He said religion and caste should not divide the Nepalis.
It is imperative that we stand united and don't get carried away by ethnic slogans because such slogans would weaken nationalism, Koirala said at the inauguration of NC-affiliated Muslim Sangh Nepal in the capital on Monday.
Expressing fears of conflict between Hindu and Muslim communities, Koirala asked all concerned to shun violence. "There should not be any conflict on the basis of caste, creed or religion. The conflict is between the poor and the rich only." (PR

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