Nepal | July 06, 2020

Seven-party talks on for peaceful polls

Madhesi leaders threaten to boycott elections if amendment bill not passed

Ram Kumar Kamat
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Pushpa Kamal Dahal holding a meeting with leaders of five major parties in Baluwatar, Kathmandu on April 19, 2017. Courtesy: PM’s Secretariat

Kathmandu, May 19

A meeting of seven parties, including the three major parties, failed to forge consensus on constitutional issues and issues relating to the second phase of local level polls.

Deputy Parliamentary Party Leader of CPN-UML Subas Chandra Nembang, who attended the meeting, said his party leaders reiterated that they were not in favour of discussing contents of the constitution amendment bill or increasing the number of local levels before the second phase of elections.

“When a circular was issued by former deputy prime minister and federal affairs and local development minister Kamal Thapa  to increase the number of local levels in Madhes districts we opposed it and the government withdrew it. Now the government has again brought up the same issue. We cannot support this idea,” Nembang said.

He said the UML leaders were ready to discuss constitutional issues and the issues relating to increasing the number of local levels after the second phase of elections. “It will be against the election code of conduct to increase the number of local levels after the first phase of polls,” Nembang added. He said if the number of local levels had to be increased then it should be done nationwide and not only for 20 districts of Madhes.

Rastriya Prajatantra Party leader Dilnath Giri said the Madhesi leaders reiterated that if elections were held
without amending the constitution, they would not take part and would launch a stir. NC leaders were for finding a solution agreeable to all, RPP leaders said that if the agitating Madhesi forces’ genuine demands were not met that could lead to rise of extremist forces in Madhes.

According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, the PM urged political leaders to forge consensus on issues related to the constitution amendment bill, the number of local levels, the second phase of elections and the budget.

The meeting decided to continue discussion.

Earlier, the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal and the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal  leaders met the government panel formed to recommend increase in the number of local levels and demanded that the number of local levels should be proportional to the population of Madhes. According to RJP-N leader Keshav Jha, FSF-N leader Upendra Yadav pointed out that Shey Phoksundo Rural Municipality had a population of 3,000 while in Madhes there was one local level for a population of up to 60,000.

Jha said a meeting of the Federal Alliance was held today but since there was not enough time to discuss issues related to the constitution and the second phase of elections the FA would hold another meeting tomorrow and most likely announce fresh stir against the second phase of elections.

A version of this article appears in print on May 20, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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