KATHMANDU, April 20: The five major political parties in parliament including Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Center), Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic have reiterated their commitment to holding the local polls on the stipulated date.
During a meeting held at Baluwatar Wednesday morning, the five major parties reached a decision to hold the polls on May 14 at any cost, concluding that there was no alternative.
Top leaders of the major parties participating in the meeting called by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to learn the opinion of coalition partners as well as the main opposition party on the upcoming polls were unanimous that the election must be held in a single phase.
However, they argued that they can opt for two phases for the election to allow agitating Madhes-based political parties to prepare if they choose to participate in the poll process.
Party President Sher Bahadur Deuba and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi from NC; Bam Dev Gautam, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Subash Chandra Nembang from UML; Dipak Bohora from RPP; and Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar and Ram Janam Chaudhary from MPRF-D were present at the meeting. Maoist Center leaders Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Barsha Man Pun and Janardan Sharma were also present at the meeting chaired by Dahal.
Talking briefly to media after the meeting, NC President Deuba said the local-level polls will be held on the stipulated date at any cost. “The election will be held on May 14. It will be held in a single phase,” he said. “We can hold the polls in two phases if the Madhesi Morcha is ready to join the poll process. But this can be done only on condition that they do participate in the polls.”
During the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Nidhi said that all necessary security and logistical arrangements have been made for the polls. “I want to say this through you all that the election will be held on May 14 in a single phase. Do not be in any confusion about this,” Nidhi told media after the meeting.
Nidhi mentioned that the Home Ministry had already held regional security meetings and that all district offices have been issued security-related working procedures for the polls.
The UML leaders present at the meeting expressed their support for making the May 14 polls a success. “Our discussions focused on making the local polls a success and both the ruling and opposition parties have agreed to play a positive role,” party leader Nembang told media. “The meeting has decided to hold the polls on May 14 in a single phase across the country.”
Maoist Center leader Sharma and RPP leader Bohara asked one and all not to harbor any doubts about local polls on May 14. “Our party has a clear policy to hold the polls on May 14. It will play any role necessary to help make the polls a success,” Bohara told media.
However, the party leaders have agreed to hold the election in two phases if the agitating Madhes-based parties participate in the polls. “The new amendment bill was introduced in consensus with the agitating parties. But they suddenly declared their protest against it,” said Sharma. “We will hold negotiations with the Madhes-based parties again with due seriousness and expedite the constitution amendment process.”
According to the leaders, the main opposition UML has also expressed its support to the government’s efforts to bring the Madhesi parties on board.
Arguing that it is the responsibility of the government to convince the Madhesi parties, UML leaders in the meeting said they would extend maximum possible cooperation to the government in such overtures.