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Nepal's Main Opposition Party, Nepali Congress Holds Discussion on New Political Map

Nepal's Main Opposition Party, Nepali Congress Holds Discussion on New Political Map

The Nepali Congress, the main Opposition party, on Saturday discussed the Constitution amendment bill related to a new political map of the country put forth by the government in Parliament.

A proposal to this effect was put at the Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting that is currently underway at the party's headquarters in Sanepa.

According to Nepali Congress sources, the proposal put forth in the CWC meeting is related to the Constitution amendment bill that seeks to bring amendment to the political map included in Schedule 3 related to Article 9 (2) of the Constitution.

The party's CWC members are currently expressing their views on the proposal put forth in the meeting, they said. Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shivamaya Tumbahangphe was supposed to table the bill for discussion at Parliament on Wednesday.

However, the bill was removed from the parliamentary business schedule as per a request by the Nepali Congress to wait until the party could take a decision to this effect from its CWC meeting.

It requires a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament to bring an amendment to the Constitution.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has decided to seek national consensus on the issue.

In the midst of a border dispute with India, Nepal recently released the revised political and administrative map of the country laying claim over the strategically key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura.

India reacted angrily to the move saying such "artificial enlargement" of territorial claims will not be acceptable and asked the neighbouring country to refrain from such "unjustified cartographic assertion".

The ties between the two countries came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.

Nepal reacted sharply to the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through Nepalese territory. India rejected the claim asserting that the road lies completely within its territory.

Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali earlier this month summoned Indian Ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra and handed over a diplomatic note to protest against India inaugurating the key road.

However, Gyawali last week said that he was confident that the Kalapani issue between the two neighbours will be resolved through talks.

India on Thursday indicated its readiness to engage with Nepal to resolve the festering border row on the basis of mutual sensitivity and respect.

India is monitoring the current situation in Nepal, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said referring to Kathmandu deferring a plan to bring in a constitutional amendment to validate a new map that depicted Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territory

"India is open to engaging with all its neighbours on the basis of mutual sensitivity and mutual respect, in an environment of trust and confidence. This is a continuous process and requires constructive and positive efforts," Srivastava said.

The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani, a disputed border area between Nepal and India. Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory- India as part of Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district.