PARBAT/KATHMANDU, Jan 27: As Madhes-based parties press the government not to announce the date for any of the three elections without first completing the process of constitutional amendment, the prime minister, who had been claiming that local elections would be held by mid-May, said on Thursday that no election would be announced without first taking the Madhesi and Tharu communities on board.
Inaugurating the Fifth Parbat Mahotsav in Kushma on Thursday, PM Dahal said that it was meaningless to announce the election date until the disgruntled forces were brought to an agreement.
“What could be the point of announcing the election date unless an environment is prepared for holding the elections?” questioned the PM. He claimed that he has been working to foster a favorable environment for elections.
“The government has been trying to create a favorable environment for holding elections but some opposition leaders have been involved in ruining that environment. Because of their vicious moves, a necessary environment for holding elections has not been possible,” the PM alleged.
“We cannot go to elections without taking the Madhesi and Tharu communities into confidence. My plan is to take the country to elections, bringing the Mountains, Hills and Tarai-Madhes together,” he added.
Dahal attacked leaders of the main opposition CPN-UML for ruining the atmosphere. “There is a contradiction as the opposition is creating one obstacle after another in developing a favorable environment for elections on one hand and chanting the slogan that they want elections on the other,” said PM Dahal.
Dahal said that local elections are an urgent need of the country as the absence of elected local bodies has resulted in massive embezzlement of budgets allocated for local development.
The PM, who has been saying publicly that the government would hold local elections by mid-May, made a U-turn after the agitating Madhes-based parties pressed the government to complete the statute amendment process first.
“We have clearly said to the PM that elections could not be announced until the amendment to the constitution is done with. We want further amendments to the amendment bill tabled in parliament. The UDMF is meeting Friday to make our stances more clear,” said Laxman Lal Karna, co-chairman of Sadbhavana Party.
Keshav Jha of National Madhes Socialist Party, claimed that the parties in the ruling coalition are positive toward addressing the demand for further amendments to the bill.
“The agitating parties and the government have been working to effect further amendments to the bill and endorse the bill with a two-third majority in parliament,” said Jha.
Madhesi parties are seeking further amendments concerning provincial representation in the National Assembly, removing the village council chairman and vice-chairman as well as municipality mayor and deputy-mayor from the Electoral College for electing members of the National Assembly, keeping the local units under the provinces and changing provincial delineations.