We’ll sit for talks on Thursday as well. If the government agrees to address our concerns on Thursday, then we’ll take part in polls. It’ll be unfortunate if things are not settled
Kathmandu, June 14
Talks held among five parties — the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML, the CPN-Maoist Centre, the Nepal Democratic Forum and the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal — over the second phase of local polls ended inconclusively today.
The RJP-N, which demands, among other things, that the constitution be amended and the number of local levels be increased in Madhes in proportion to the population of the region, has resorted to protest to disrupt the second phase of local polls slated for June 28.
A member of the RJP-N presidium, Sharat Singh Bhandari, said the government had not created an environment conducive for his party’s participation in the second phase of local polls yet.
“We’ll sit for talks tomorrow as well. If the government agrees to address our concerns tomorrow, then we’ll participate in the polls. It will be unfortunate if things are not settled tomorrow,” he added.
Another member of the RJP-N presidium, Mahendra Yadav, said they demanded that the government should amend the constitution and increase the number of local levels but no agreement was reached today. “The major parties have invited us for talks tomorrow. Let’s see what happens,” Yadav said.
CPN-UML deputy parliamentary party leader Subas Chandra Nembang said his party made it clear that the June 28 polls should not be deferred at any cost. “We told the parties that there was no possibility of addressing the two issues — passing the constitution amendment bill and increasing the number of local levels in Madhes — before the polls. But if the government had committed to meeting other demands of RJP-N, such as granting martyrdom status and paying compensation to the victims, then it should meet those demands,” he added.
Nembang said the parties were not in a position to discuss the constitution amendment bill, as the House had been adjourned till July 2; nor could they discuss issues relating to increasing the number of local levels in Madhes, as the Supreme Court had issued a stay on that.
CPN-Maoist Centre leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said they wanted technical, as well as political, issues related to the second phase of local polls addressed.
In the previous meeting with the ruling parties, the RJP-N leaders had told them to postpone local polls in 25 districts of Madhes and Limbuwan so that they would have enough time to address their concerns.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has called a meeting with office bearers of the Election Commission tomorrow.
A version of this article appears in print on June 15, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.