Polls can’t be deferred, say NC, UML leaders

Kathmandu, August 25:

It is inexcusable to defer the constituent assembly election on the ground of inadequate preparations, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML leaders said today.

The Maoists, however, have been saying that polls would look like Panchayati election without declaring the country a republic and ensuring the proportional representation system of election.

“No political party has the right to defer the November 22 polls, as the seven-party alliance and the Maoists have expressed the commitment in writing to hold it on time,” UML standing committee member Bharat Mohan Adhikari said at the Reporters’ Club.

He said that there were only 88 days left for the election and it would be political betrayal

to propose deferment of the election by mid-June next year as suggested by Maoist chairman Prachanda.

Prachanda, at a programme yesterday, suggested that election could not be held without preparing ground congenial for it.

Speaking at the programme, Maoist leader Janardan Sharma (Prabhakar) stressed the need to hold a roundtable conference of all class, ethnic communities, women, Dalits and backward regions to reconsider the provision of mixed election system.

He also said it was “interference” of a foreign power in the country’s internal affairs to dictate as and when to conduct the election. He was referring to a statement by Indian Ambassador Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, who last week had said that legitimacy of the eight-party government would be over if the polls were not held in November.

“It is inappropriate to raise the issue of proportional representation system of election when everything has been prepared on mixed election system,” Adhikari said. Nepali Congress leader and Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat also backed Adhikari’s assertion and said that it would be impossible to defer the election as the government has already spent about Rs 4 billion for its preparation.

Mahat also claimed that the Madhesi people would be taking part in the polls as the interim constitution has a provision of 48 per cent representation in the assembly polls from the Tarai.

However, Hridayesh Tripathi, a Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi Devi) leader, said the assembly election was shrouded under cloud as the government was yet to make public the report of the Constituency Delimitation Commission.

“It has been a month since the commission finalised its report on the constituency delimitation, but the government has not received the report,” he said, adding: “There is a big conspiracy behind this.”

The government has planned to make public the report only after the House is prorogued, he said and warned that there will be another revolt in the Tarai if any conspiracy is smelt in the constituency delimitation report. No preliminary preparations had been done for the November 22 polls, he said. Mahat also agreed that the report should be made public soon.