The Foreign Secretary’s visit to Nepal at a time the country is about to promulgate a new constitution is termed here as “significant”.
“We seek to stand in solidarity with the diverse religious and ethnic minorities which represent the fullness of the country of Nepal and who want to be assured that their concerns and interests as citizens are properly represented in the draft constitution now under consideration”, the letter stated.
In all, 507 of the young republic’s 598 lawmakers came out in favour of the bill in the marathon vote, which began on Sunday and continued late into Wednesday night.
Nepali President Ram Baran Yadav is scheduled to unveil the post-war national charter at 5 p.m. on September 20 in Kathmandu.
In the most contentious clause of the document, the text divides Nepal into seven federal states.
Ever since federal provinces were demarcated in the constitution, the Madhesis in the central Tarai, the Tharus in the western plains and the Janajatis in the eastern Nepal are up in arms.
It is Nepal’s first constitution to be written by elected representatives, after the previous six were drafted by panels of crown-appointed experts.
A loud cheer went up in the House as Speaker Subash Nembang announced that the long-delayed bill had been passed after violent protests that have killed more than 40 people and shut down large swathes of the south. Janajatis are minority ethnic groups indigenous to Nepal.
The constitution, sets the country up as a secular federation of seven states, each with a legislature and chief minister. The main three parties are reportedly working with Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Democratic) leader Bijaya Gachhadar and other Tharu organizations to bring them back to the mainstream.
During his meetings with Nepal’s leaders, sources said, Jaishankar is likely to urge flexibility on the part of all the political forces so that any outstanding issue is addressed through dialogue, in an atmosphere free from violence. However, India, the United States, and the United Kingdom have officially welcomed the process, pretending that Nepal’s new constitution will be inclusive to all.
Yadav was among the Madhesi leaders who met Jaishankar and sought India’s support in facilitating talks between the ruling and agitating parties over the new constitution. A two-thirds margin was required.
A Constitution, which is fully-owned by and accommodates the aspirations of all regions and sections of the Nepalese society, will lay a durable foundation for a peaceful and prosperous Nepal, observed the Foreign Minister in her statement.