Political parties yet to go to villages, says Martin

Dhangadhi, August 23:

Chief of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), Ian Martin, today said that the political parties have not kept their word to go to the villages though the people want them to do so. He added that people complained to him about this when he visited villages of Kailali and Kanchanpur districts in western Nepal.

Martin, who arrived here after a two-day tour of the two districts, told reporters that while there was little time left for the constituent assembly polls the Election Commission still had a lot of work to do. “I am hopeful, however, that the EC will rise to the occasion,” he added.

Martin said he met the chief district officers, heads of security agencies, election chiefs, local leaders of the eight political parties and VDC secretaries of Kailali and Kanchanpur during his tour. “All of them have laid stress on security,” he said.

Commenting on the Tarai problem, Martin said it was not so insurmountable and that the government was making efforts to resolve the issue. He added that marginalised communities should all get equal representation in the CA.

Martin said that the UNMIN would soon wind up the second phase of arms verification of the Nepal Army and the Maoist combatants and also the task of monitoring the poll atmosphere and poll code. “I can’t name the exact date but the second phase of verification is in the final stage in Sindhuli. After that, it will begin in Dashrathpur of Surkhet district,” he said.

Responding to journalists’ queries about the YCL, Martin said former PLA fighters have infiltrated the ranks of the YCL. “I have no idea how many they are. I had spoken to Maoist chairman Prachanda and told him that the YCL should only be an affiliate group of the party,” he said.

He said the eight parties ought to work unitedly for making the CA polls a success. UNMIN representatives will be posted in three more districts of the region within a month, he said.