KATHMANDU, March 8: Though the agitating Federal Alliance (FA) has demanded the withdrawal of the government's decision to hold the local elections on May 14 in view of the Saptari incident, the main opposition CPN-UML has said that the polls shouldn't be postponed under any pretext.
Organizing a press meet on Tuesday, a day after three protesters affiliated to the Madhes-based parties were killed in clashes with police, the UML stressed that the local polls must be held on the scheduled date.
“We demand that the government create political and administrative environment to hold the local polls. The elections can be and must be held as the failure to conduct the polls will lead to the new constitution's failure,” said UML Secretary Pradeep Gyawali.
Recalling that the second Constituent Assembly election was held in 2013 in an even worse political environment, Gyawali said that most of the people in Tarai-Madhes also want elections. An hour after the UML's press meet, an alliance of the agitating parties, however, demanded the cancellation of the local polls within a week.
UML has blamed the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) for the Saptari incident on Monday. “The UDMF should take the responsibility of the incident which was caused by the criminal tendency and activities of the individuals affiliated to the Front,” reads the statement issued by UML General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel.
UML Vice Chairman Bhim Rawal said that a much bigger incident could have happened in Saptari if the UML hadn't observed restraint. “Participants of the UML assembly maintained restraint though the UDMF cadres attacked them with stones and other weapons. If we hadn't maintained restraint, a much bigger incident could have happened,” he said.
The UML has also demanded that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) probe the incident independently. “We want the NHRC to probe the incident independently and pay attention to facts and truths while doing so,” said UML Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai.
The UML has claimed that party's mass meeting was rescheduled at another place with the view to avoiding a possible clash. UML leaders also claimed that the party had urged the local leaders of the Madhesi parties not to create any obstacle to the UML's rally.
Meanwhile, UML has decided to resume its Mechi- Mahakali campaign from Friday from Jitpur of Bara district. “We put off our campaign after the Saptari incident for three-days. The campaign will resume from Friday in its original form,” said Gyawali.
Deputy leader of the UML parliamentary party, Subas Nembang said that the government must ensure security to the party's rallies and other programs. “The government should ensure security to peaceful programs organized by any political parties. The government, too, is responsible for the Saptari incident,” he said.
The UML has also demanded that the government ensure the security of its cadres and leaders in Tarai-Madhes. Likewise the UML has also condemned the attacks on UML party offices in various districts of Province 2.
UML General Secretary Pokhrel also objected to the government's decision of transferring the chief district officer and chief of security bodies of Saptari.