The main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) has decided to vote in support of the Constitution amendment bill.
The party's central committee meeting on Saturday has decided to instruct the parliamentary party to vote in support of the amendment bill to change the coat of arms in accordance to the new map including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipu Lekh, according to NC Spokesperson Bishwo Prakash Sharma.
The party had called the central committee meeting to institutionalize the decision taken by the office-bearers meeting on Sunday to support the Constitution amendment proposed by the government.
Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli had called an all-party meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the Constitution amendment bill. NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba during the all-party meeting said the party will take decision after discussion in the central committee as per the decision of office-bearers meeting.
The party was irked after some CPN leaders said the issue was removed from the House schedule on Wednesday pointing that NC has demanded time.
The proposed schedule prepared by the parliament secretariat had mentioned that Law Minister Shiva Maya Tungbahamphe will present the bill on Wednesday. But the issue was removed from the business schedule before start of the meeting Wednesday.
NC had taken exception to being blamed for removal of the issue from the schedule.
The government has registered the Constitution amendment bill to amend the schedule of the Constitution, wherein the map in the coat of arms does not include the territory including Limpiyadhura, to implement the new map.
Constitution amendment requires two-third majority of the House. The ruling CPN is just short of two-third majority and with the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) now institutionally deciding to support the amendment getting two-third majority will not be a problem. NC has 63 seats in the House of Representatives.
Madhes-based parties, Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJP) and Socialist Party Nepal, have been saying the government should also include their demands for Constitution amendment while amending it for implementation of the new map.
The government on May 20 published the new map including Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura. The territorial area of Nepal has increased by 335 square kilometers with inclusion of the territory up to Limpyadhura.
The government on May 18 passed the new map including Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura.
Inauguration of the Indian road via Lipu Lekh on May 8 has been widely criticized by the ruling and opposition parties alike.
The Foreign Ministry has already expressed regret over the unilateral construction and urged India to refrain from carrying out any activity inside the territory of Nepal. It then summoned the Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra and handed a diplomatic note conveying Nepal's position on the issue.
Nepal has consistently maintained that as per the Sugauli Treaty (1816), all the territories east of Kali (Mahakali) River, including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipu Lekh, belong to Nepal.
Nepal had also expressed its disagreement in 2015 through separate diplomatic notes addressed to the governments of both India and China when the two sides agreed to include Lipu Lekh Pass as a bilateral trade route without Nepal’s consent in the Joint Statement issued on 15 May 2015 during the official visit of the Prime Minister of India to China.