NC, UCPN-M rule out possibility of civic polls

Kathmandu, May 10

Lawmakers of the Nepali Congress and the ruling Unified CPN-Maoist today ruled out the possibility of holding local bodies’ elections in November/December as announced by the government in its policy and programme.

Parliamentarians of the ruling alliance, including UCPN-M and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (Democratic), criticised some of the programmes announced by the government, terming them unimplementable.

Taking part in the discussion on the policy and programme of the government, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba said implementation of long-term programmes by the government, whose days were numbered, was not possible.

Deuba said, “The local bodies’ elections were imperative but the government does not seem to be committed to holding the polls. We cannot believe that the polls could be held without resolving the problems of Madhes.”

Announcement of polls under the existing structure will be meaningless at a time when the commission formed to restructure the local bodies is yet to come up with new structures.

Announcement of generating 10,000 megawatt electricity in 10 years is ambitious and it is difficult to implement in the absence of development infrastructure and national consensus, he said.

Deuba said the government’s announcement to construct the Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track is problematic, as preventing the already begun global tender process would spoil the environment for inviting foreign investors.

“If a foreign company, which is already in the process of global bidding, claims compensation, it will cause loss to the country. And constructing the fast track itself will not be credible and implementable,” said Deuba.

He said the government shut the door of consensus by recalling Nepal’s ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay, who was appointed by previous NC-led government.

CPN-UML leader Jhalanath Khanal termed the policy and programme important and progressive. “Many new programmes have been announced as the starting points of new development campaign. Expanding roads, constructing railways and producing electricity are important and essential programmes announced by the government,” Khanal said.

Conducting local bodies’ polls was imperative , as it would help spread the democracy to local level, Khanal said.

Khanal underlined the need of national consensus and urged the government to take initiatives at the earliest to resolve the problems through talks. He said the relationship with neighbouring India and China should be strengthened in a balanced and practical way.

UCPN-M lawmaker Asha Koirala said the local polls cannot be held in November/December as announced by the government.

“The commission is mandated to restructure the local bodies by determining their number and boundaries before mid-March. Conducting the polls just three months before that will be meaningless,” she said.

Talking to reporters outside the Parliament building, UCPN-M leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara said conducting local polls in November/December would be impossible. “The polls cannot be held without restructuring local bodies as per the new constitution.

The polls were announced without taking facts and reality into account,” he said.

Madhes-based agitating parties, meanwhile boycotted today’s House meeting after Gopal Dahit of Tharuhat Tarai Party Nepal spoke in the beginning of today’s meeting.

“As the government has not taken any initiative to resolve the problems of Tarai, Tharus and indigenous people, we are boycotting the House proceedings,” he said.

After his address, lawmakers of Madhes-based parties walked out of the meeting hall.