June 12, 2017 07:46 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, June 11: The agitating Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) has set increase in the number of local units based on population and written commitment of major parties for constitution amendment as preconditions to participate in the local poll scheduled for June 28.
Top leader of RJPN also demanded deferral of local polls until their demands are met during a meeting with the senior leaders of ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (Maoist Center) held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Singha Durbar on Sunday. The RJPN leaders have maintained that the government’s move to clear technical hurdles for election alone won’t create environment for them to participate in the polls.
The demands by the RJPN come in the wake of the government filing an application at the Supreme Court to vacate its earlier decision to stay government’s move to increase local units in the tarai, and the parliament endorsing a bill to bring amendment to the Political Party Act. The amendment will allow the RJPN to choose from among six election symbols that were allocated to the RJPN constituent parties before their merger.
According to senior Maoist Center leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the RJPN leaders have said that they would participate in the polls only if the number of local units were increased based on population in the tarai districts and the ruling parties made written commitment for constitution amendment. “They have proposed further deferral of the poll so as to address their demands and create conducive environment for them take part in the polls,” Shrestha said.
Although ruling parties are positive toward RJPN’s demands, they rejected outright the proposal to further defer the June 28 polls. Also, they have ruled out the possibility of amendment to the constitution before the second phase of local polls.
On the demand for increasing the number of local units in the tarai districts, ruling parties have maintained that they have to wait until the apex court responds to their application to vacate the previous order of the court before making any new decision. A hearing on the government application is scheduled for June 18.
RJPN leaders have maintained that the government’s earlier decision to increase 22 local units in the tarai needs further revision.