Civic poll date in six days: PM

Kathmandu, January 22

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said the government would announce civic poll date within six days, along with a supplementary proposal to revise the constitution amendment bill to address Madhesi parties’ concerns.

After launching  Samsadiya Patrakarita, a book on parliament journalism published by Journalists’ Society for Parliamentary Affairs, he said, “Elections might be held on May 8, 9, 10 or 11.” He added that the government decided to announce the poll date after the three major parties reached an agreement for the same yesterday. The PM added that the government would try its best to pass the five election-related bills, which are crucial for holding local polls, before January 28.

The PM added that there was no alternative to holding civic, provincial and parliamentary elections within a year. “All of the hard achieved political gains will be imperilled if we failed to hold elections on time,” he added. He said the government was adamant on proceeding with the process on the constitution amendment bill in the Parliament.

“We prefer consensus, but if that’s not possible, we’ll seek to settle the matter through voting; if even that doesn’t bring the agitating forces on board, we’ll go for supplementary bill to amend the constitution,” the PM  explained.

The PM added that he had been talking to the Madhesi parties in this regard.

“On many occasions in the past I have taken strong decisions and I am ready to do so again,” he added. He urged the major parties not to forget the commitment they made during the promulgation of the constitution about amending the constitution and addressing the demands of agitating forces.

Speaking before the PM, Deputy Leader of CPN-UML Parliamentary Party Subas Chandra Nembang said parties could not violate the constitutional provision related to holding the three elections within one year.

“There is no option but to implement the constitution,” he added. Nembang said the three major parties had forgotten their promise to continue their partnership for implementing the constitution.

Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar expressed her belief that the political leadership would act on time to hold elections as per the constitutional provision.

Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Ramesh Lekhak said media’s comprehensive coverage of parliamentary proceedings would help strengthen democracy.

On the occasion, senior journalist Yubaraj Ghimire and former presidents of Federation of Nepali Journalists -- Bishnu Nisthuri and Shiva Gaunle -- also highlighted the significance of coverage of parliamentary events and challenges journalists faced every day.