Ploy to delay elections: UML
KATHMANDU, Feb 10: In a move that the opposition party describes as the government's ploy to delay the local polls, the ruling parties have planned to send the report of the local level restructuring commission (LLRC) back to the same body for revision.
As various ruling parties including the Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (Maoist Center), and the agitating Madhes-based political parties have been demanding revisions in the LLRC report, the government had earlier entrusted a three-member taskforce with studying what can be done to make the report acceptable for all.
The taskforce on Thursday consulted leaders from both the ruling and opposition parties and discussed the option of sending the report back to the LLRC.
Minister for Local Development Hitraj Pandey of the CPN (Maoist Center), Minister for Industry Nabindra Raj Joshi of NC and Minister for Supplies Deepak Bohara of Rastriya Prajatantra Party are members of the taskforce.
The ruling side chose the option with a view to forge consensus among the major political forces as the main opposition CPN-UML has been insisting that the government doesn't have the authority to revise the report.
Leaders from the ruling NC, CPN (Maoist Center) and agitating political parties have demanded revision in the numbers and boundaries of local units proposed by the LLRC. It has suggested delineating 719 local units across the country under the federal set up. LLRC's tenure is expiring in mid-March.
The political parties are sharply divided over the report. Some of the leaders from the ruling parties as well as the agitating forces have been demanding revision while the main opposition CPN-UML insists on holding elections for the local units as proposed by the LLRC.
The leaders at Thursday's meeting discussed the option of sending the report back to the commission for revision. Leaders from five major political parties, including Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal were present at the meeting.
"As there is still around a month for the commission's term to expire, the government can seek its help to resolve the disputes over the number and boundaries," said Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Hitraj Pandey after the meeting.
Maoist senior leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said that there is a possibility of sending the report back to the commission for finalization. "I see the possibility of sending the report back to the commission," he told Republica.
UML chief whip Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal also stressed the need for sending the report back to the commission if there is need of any revision. "Only the commission has the authority to rethink the report. If there is any serious problem regarding the implementation of the report, it should be sent back to the commission through political consensus," Dhakal told Republica.
The UML leader also accused the ruling parties of demanding revision of the report mainly to delay the local polls.
"We believe that the government doesn't want to announce the poll date. The ruling parties' demand for changes in the report in the last hour proves that they intend to delay the election," said CPN-UML Vice-chairman Bhim Rawal. "The government hasn't announced the poll date as it wants to delay elections."
He argued that if the government was interested in holding elections, it would have proposed for changes in the report immediately after receiving the report from the LLRC.
"The LLRC report should be implemented without any further delay and the UML is ready to offer constructive support to the government for that," said Rawal.