Kathmandu, February 4:

Leaders of agitating parties today said municipal elections were being conducted for the “immediate benefit of a family and its coterie” and the exercise would only push the country towards the edge of a precipice.

“The civic polls are a series of a game plan to push the country towards the edge of a precipice and the exercise will not give any long-term benefit to those who orchestrated them,” said CPN-UML standing committee member KP Sharma Oli. He was speaking at an interaction organised here by the Press Chautari.

He said the polls were being conducted at a time when there is no parliament and a government accountable to the people and the conflict between the parties, the King and the Maoists is deepening.

“Will the municipal elections create a parliament and elect a new government? Does this exercise help resolve the Maoist problem?” Oli questioned. He said the King’s attempt to give legitimacy to his takeover had also flopped.

He also urged the Maoists to call off their week-long Nepal bandh called to boycott the municiapl elections that already are a ‘failure.’ “Why do you (Maoists) use an axe to chop vegetables?” he said.

Joint general secretary of the Nepali Congress Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said the King had unilaterally decided on the elections and they do not have constitutional and political legitimacy. “It has become a failure even from the administrative point of view as more than 50 per cent of the seats are going uncontested,” he said.

He said the King had made a “sinister game plan” to conduct civic polls two years ago.

He said the democratic government to be formed after the end of autocracy would realise state funds “misused by people in autocracy” in the name of elections.

Central committee member of Nepal Bar Association Tikaram Bhattarai earlier said the agitating parties should recover the ‘misused’ funds. Mahat also objected the ‘misuse’ of the Royal Nepalese Army in arresting party workers. When the elected government wanted to use the army to control the insurgency the then chief of the army staff demanded an all-party consensus for it, but the government has misused the national force to arrest and search the pockets of civilians, he said.

Nepali Congress (Democratic) leader Homnath Dahal, Rastriya Prajatantra Party’s joint general secretary Khemraj Pandit and former chief election commissioner Surya Prasad Shrestha said the the civic polls held no relevance as the major political parties are staying away from them.

Vice president of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, Shiv Gaunle, speculated that the voter turnout would be less than 10 per cent.

He also said the government has a plan to hold parliamentary elections in the same manner it is conducting the municipal elections.