FA to keep protesting against local level polls

  • FA will hold baton rallies in Madhes and Tharuhat on Saturday and impose general strike in Madhes on Sunday

Kathmandu, June 16

The Federal Alliance today issued a press release stating its decision not to participate in local elections till its demands were met remained unchanged.

FA Coordinator Mahantha Thakur issued the release stating that its protest against local polls would continue.

The FA added that it could not accept the government’s ‘unilateral decisions’ about local polls going against the understanding reached with it and the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal.

The alliance stated that it would take out baton rallies in Madhes and Tharuhat on Saturday and impose general strike in Madhes on Sunday.

The alliance added that its other protest programmes announced on June 11 would remain unchanged.

The government had yesterday decided to defer local polls in Province 2 till September 18. The government’s decision to hold the second phase of local polls in Provinces 1, 5 and 7 on June 28 remains unchanged.

The FA had announced on June 11 that it would impose an indefinite general strike from June 24.

During the general strike, the FA will urge people to boycott the polls, padlock election offices and organise demonstrations and vigils in rural municipalities, municipalities, sub-metropolis and metropolis.

According to protest programmes to disrupt the polls, the FA will organise baton rallies on June 19 and obstruct election programmes and activities on June 20.

On June 23, the FA will organise a torch rally in all district headquarters.

FA leader Rajkishor Yadav said the alliance took a historic decision today to oppose the government’s ‘unilateral decision’. “We cannot give up our agenda,” he added.

Another FA leader, Rajendra Mahato, said the government decided to postpone elections in Province 2 to give an impression to the country and the international community that only eight districts of Tarai were Madhes. “Madhesi and Tharu people from Jhapa to Kanchanpur resorted to movement demanding their rights in the constitution,” Mahato said. He added that the ruling parties had signed an agreement with the FA to hold polls only after addressing the demands of the agitating forces but they had not kept their word. “How can Madhesis and Tharus of Tarai districts of Provinces 1 and 5 participate in polls without their concerns being addressed?” he wondered.

Mahato said FA leaders unanimously decided to oppose the government’s poll related decisions.

Nepali Congress leader Anand Prasad Dhungana, however, said the FA’s decision could lead to conflict. “The government decided to hold polls in Province 2 after three months with a view to addressing the agitating forces’ demands, including the one to increase the number of local levels in Madhes,” he said. He added that the FA, particularly the RJP-N, should have accepted the government’s decision.

He said the government wanted to find a negotiated settlement after discussing the concerns of all parties, including the main opposition party. “No party should do things to deflect blame on others,” he added.