No election related activity in Saptari

Rajbiraj, April 18

Though local level elections are approaching no significant election related activities and campaigns have been launched in Saptari so far.

“Actually, it has been more than two decades since the local levels have not elected people’s representatives. However, no election related activities have been launched so far due to lack of political consensus from Madhes-based forces on election in Saptari.

Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre held a few programmes besides other poll-related activities in Birgunj and other locations. However, the opposition CPN-UML has not conducted such programmes at all after the Saptari incident on March 6,” said Saptari locals.

The folks still are not sure whether elections will be held, but they are hopeful that political stability will be ensured and development projects will be able to step up in the country once the polls are held.

Paras Dahal, a youth leader of Saptakoshi Municipality, said there was no alternative to elections and the disgruntle forces would have to be taken into confidence. “This election, which is likely to be held after two decades, should be taken as an opportunity,” said Dahal.

The agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front, on the other hand, has warned the district election office and local bodies not to hold any election related activities in the district expressing dissatisfaction over the new constitution.

The offices of 17 local bodies, eight municipalities and nine rural municipalities, which were padlocked by the front 20 days ago are yet to be unlocked.

“We won’t let the election take place until our demands are addressed,” said the Front’s District Coordinator Dinesh Kumar Yadav.

The election office also has not been able to hold election related activities due to the lack of political consensus among the forces. “Though we are carrying on with administrative activities, we are yet to establish coordination with political forces,” said Mahesh Kumar Thakur, District Election Office Chief Saptari.

Due to lack of mutual cooperation, poll centres also have not been fixed yet. “Though 292 polling booths were recommended, the central office has not endorsed it yet,” said Thakur. According to him, election education programme has also been affected though only a few days are left for elections.

There are 331,462 voters, including 160,686 women, 170,455 men and 21 third gender, in Saptari district.