Former PM Bhattarai calls for amendment in constitution for reform in governance


Kathmandu, June 21: Former Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has underscored the need for constitution amendment for comprehensive governance reforms.     

Bhattarai, who established himself in parliamentary politics from the leadership role in the Maoist rebellion, is currently the Chairperson of the Nepal Samajwadi Party. Known for taking some avant-garde efforts and policy-level reforms for development and prosperity when he helmed the government and assumed the role of Minister for Finance in the past, Bhattarai is making efforts to usher in the alternative politics after his party secured win a limited constituency.     

Talking to the Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS), Bhattarai sees the need for new thinking and ideas to lead the country towards development and prosperity. According to him, a new political leadership with new alternative ideas was needed that could collaborate with the old forces on the pressing agendas concerning concluding the peace process.     

Stating that his party will take forward the agenda of changes and continue enhancing advocacy on the directly elected executive head, Dr Bhattarai hinted at the possibility of collaborating with any political forces subscribing to similar ideologies.     

Emphasizing comprehensive reforms including improvement in the governance system, the former Prime Minister pressed for amendment in the national charter.     

He recollected that his party had been advocating for adopting a directly elected executive head during the Constituent Assembly which could ensure stability and development in the country.     

Two elections post the promulgation of the constitution validated this, he argued, adding that no political party could get a two-thirds majority in the existing system. Thus, there was no alternative to adopting the directly-elected based on the full proportional system in the House of Representatives and Province Assembly.     

To curb corruption, he viewed that there should be a provision for the formation of Janalokpal in the constitution. According to him, the current model of federalism was incomplete. Therefore, he opined, that the constitution should be revised and made complete.     

On a different note, he insisted that the court should resolve the issue relating to Gandaki Province Assembly Member Phadindra Devkota who is a member of the party Bhattarai chairs.     

Devkota was elected in the Province Assembly contesting the election using the election symbol of the CPN (Maoist Centre) and is now under question from the latter for crossing the floor of the party whip in the province assembly to give the vote of confidence to the Chief Minister of the Gandaki Province, Surendra Raj Pandey.     

In defense, Bhattarai said that it was a sheer mockery of the rule of law since Devkota got elected by exercising existing legal rights and by using a joint election symbol. This is archived in the Election Commission of Nepal as well as the Province Assembly, he mentioned.     

While deliberation on the Rs 1.86 trillion budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2024/25 continues in the parliament, the former Finance Minister observed that the ritualistic presentation and deliberation on the budget could not attain rapid development.     

Calling for reforms in existing structures and provisions, he observed that the aim of achieving 3 to 4 percent of economic growth would take the country to nowhere.     

He highlighted the need to adopt new measures such as scientific land reform along with reform in the political system. Recalling the BIPPA, the bilateral agreement signed with India during his leadership for investment protection and promotion, he said that we should leverage the development of neighbouring India and China and adopt new technologies and attract big industries to reduce imports. (RSS)

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