Govt committed to holding local polls, says PM

Kathmandu, September 5

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal today said the government was committed to holding local polls.

While responding to lawmakers’ queries at the Development Committee of the Parliament, he also clarified that the polls would be held for local bodies and not local units. The PM said implementing the new constitution was as challenging as it was to promulgate the constitution last year.

“And this time we have one more challenge: to address the genuine demands of Madhesis and Tharus. If we can address their concerns that will prepare an environment for the implementation of the constitution,” the PM said.

People of all regions -- mountains, hills and Madhes -- should own up the constitution, he added. “Since this new government was formed, we have been making efforts to win confidence of all Nepalis, including Madhesis, and we are close to a solution,” he said in reference to a possible resolution of the concerns raised by the Federal Alliance and the United Democratic Madhesi Front.

The PM said necessary laws, including elections-related laws would be enacted by mid-September. “I discussed local polls with the Election Commission recently and the office bearers told me that they would be able to hold local polls if we could enact election-related laws by mid-October,” the PM told the panel.

The PM said the Local Bodies’ Restructuring Commission was ready to add over 565 local bodies if stakeholders agreed for the same. The PM said the government was making necessary preparations before announcing poll dates. “The government is making efforts to make laws and political environment conducive for polls,” he said.

The PM, however, warned that if the major parties were involved in unhealthy competition that could invite unfortunate situation as far as the implementation of the constitution was concerned.

Sadbhawana Party Chair Rajendra Mahato told THT that if the government could hold local polls that would be good but the most important thing was to restructure the provinces first. “The boundaries of our provinces have not been revised yet. How can the boundaries of the local bodies be determined?” he wondered.

Mahato said Madhesi forces would not accept the recommendation of LBRC if it completed its work before the restructuring of the provinces.