False claims in Congress poll manifesto

South Asia Check / November 2, 2017

Nepali Congress (NC) has made several claims in its manifesto for the provincial and parliamentary elections made public last week. South Asia Check has examined whether the following three claims are fact-based or not:

First claim: The 20-year agriculture development strategies launched in 1996 AD and 2014 AD were both brought by the governments led by the Nepali Congress.

In fact, the agriculture development strategies [previously known as agriculture perspective plan] mentioned in the manifesto was first launched in 1995, not in 1996 and was launched by a UML-led government. UML leader Man Mohan Adhikari was prime minister at that time. Adhikari became prime minister seven months prior to the launch.

Please see this link.

In the manifesto, NC has claimed that the latest Agriculture Development Strategy was launched in 2014. Actually, the strategy was launched in 2015 AD, during the prime ministership of UML Chairman KP Oli. He became prime minister nine months before the launch of the plan.

Please see this link.

Therefore, this claim is incorrect.

Second claim: It was the Nepali Congress which led a democratic process to amend the constitution. As a result, the issue of representation on the basis of proportional inclusion became a part of the fundamental rights through the first amendment to the constitution.   

The manifesto has hinted toward the first constitution amendment bill tabled in parliament by the Sushil Koirala-led government. But it was passed by parliament when CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli was prime minister.

The bill had proposed to amend the article related to ‘Right of Social Justice”. This right is regarded as a fundamental right by the constitution.

Before the amendment, the following was mentioned in Article 42 (1) of the constitution which speaks about the ‘Right to Social Justice’: The socially backward women, Dalit, indigenous people, indigenous nationalities, Madhesi, Tharu, minorities, persons with disabilities, marginalized communities, Muslims, backward classes, gender and sexual minorities, youths, farmers, laborers, oppressed or citizens of backward regions and indigent Khas Arya shall have the right to participate in the State bodies on the basis of inclusive principle.”

After the amendment bill was passed by parliament, the phrase ‘inclusive principle’ was replaced with ‘principles of proportional inclusion’.

Therefore, this claim is correct. However, even before the amendment, the preamble of the constitution had mentioned that the constitution is committed to the principles of proportional inclusion.

Third claim: (After the first amendment) the new constitution was improved to ensure that population along with geography becomes major basis for representation.

Before the amendment, the following was mentioned in Article 84 (1a) of the constitution: “One hundred and sixty five members [of the House of Representatives] to be elected through the first past the post electoral system, with one being elected from each election constituency of one hundred and sixty five election constituencies delimited in the country on the basis of geography and population”.

After the amendment, the phrase “geography and population’ was replaced with the phrase ‘population and geographical viability and specialty’.

This means that geography was still a major basis of representation even before the amendment was made.

Therefore, this claim is also wrong.

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