Use of force in Tarai can hamper polls: Minister

Kathmandu, July 19:

Health and Population Minister Giriraj Mani Pokhrel today said that use of force in the Tarai can hamper the peace process and come in the way of constituent assembly elections.

“Use of force can hamper the peace process. It is our duty to listen to dissenting voices, work out a compromise and team up to make sure that the elections are held,” he said at a programme at the Reporters’ Club. Terming demands of the Madheshis, Janajatis, Women and Dalits for proportional representation “genuine”, he urged the eight parties and the government to do a rethink on the demands.

Through the movement in the Tarai, the people of Tarai are seeking their role in nation-building, he said. “The movement could also be a result of the infiltration of those forces from the palace, which do not want the elections held, those who want Nepal recognised again as a Hindu kingdom and those who want the disintegration of Tarai from Nepal,” he warned.

There is a huge economic and social disparity among the residents of the Tarai, he said, adding that these people cannot belong to a particular movement.

From the beginning, leaders of some big parties are behaving as if it is their government alone and they do not have to listen to us, he said, terming the working style of the government “objectionable”.

“The big leaders bring vital issues in the cabinet, but do not let us discuss them. In this situation, only writing ‘notes of dissent’ will be the way to show our existence,” he said.

Pokharel also said that the elections will not be in favour of the republicans if the UML, CPN (Maoisit) and other leftists do not make a united front.

“A front is necessary to pave the way for the constituent assembly elections and safeguard achievements of the second Jana Andolan.” He also proposed that UML, Maoists and Janamorcha Nepal field electoral candidates based on consensus.