KAHTHMANDU, Jan 21: Leaders from both the ruling and opposition political parties have drawn the attention of the government to the fast-approaching deadline for holding the three sets of elections provisioned in the new constitution.
Speaking during special hour at the House meeting on Friday, senior leaders from the ruling and opposition parties also urged the government to announce the date for local polls.
Nepali Congress (NC) senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel said that without holding elections at the local level first, elections for the provincial assemblies and the federal parliament are impossible. “I have heard about plans to hold only the elections for parliament, which would be the opposite of how the new constitution should be implemented. Local level elections should be conducted first,” he said.
Paudel was of the view that the agitating Madhes-based parties had also assured them of accepting the local polls once the government tabled the constitution amendment bill in the House. “The rest of the disputed issues should be resolved, keeping constitution implementation and elections at the center, and this is possible only with all the parties giving the local polls first priority,” he said.
Speaking right after Paudel, Vice-chairman of the main opposition CPN-UML, Bhim Rawal, criticized the government for its failure to announce the poll date and unveil a constitution implementation work plan.
“Who stopped the government from announcing the local polls date? The opposition, or the forces outside parliament, or external forces?” asked Rawal. “At least the preceding government had unveiled its election work plan, but the present government has not even prepared an election plan so far.”
Rawal also expressed serious concern over the government overlooking activities related to separatist movements in the Tarai-Madhes region.
“I have heard that a meeting has been held in Patna, posing a serious threat to national unity, sovereignty and national security. When I informed the prime minister about such activities he ignored it. I demand the PM's take on this issue in the House,” said Rawal.
Also expressing objections over a statement by an Indian leader in a television interview, Rawal demanded that the government condemn the statement, which was against Nepal's national sovereignty.
Presenting some more instances, Rawal accused the government of failing to maintain diplomatic balance between India and China. He also demanded government clarifications over news about India demanding to deploy air-marshals at Nepal's international airport.
CPN (Maoist Center) lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari insisted on holding local elections under the new local structure. “We shouldn't fuel the fires over minor disputes concerning the report of the local level restructuring commission (LLRC). The local level elections cannot be held under the existing structure,” he said.
Parshuram Tamang of Rastriya Prajatantra Party also said the government should announce the date for local polls in consultation with all the political parties in parliament and without any delay.
Narsing Chaudhary of Shadbhawana Party, however, said that the Madhes-based political parties will not accept the local polls without revising the report of the LLRC. Chaudhary also objected to the statement of UML leader Rawal about the Patna meeting, stating that it defamed the Madhes-based political parties. He also expressed the objection of the Madhes-based parties over the appointment of high court judges, saying there was no inclusive proportional representation in the recommendations.