June 17, 2017 01:50 AM NPT
Decides to press on with protests amid disgruntlement
KATHMANDU, June 17: A day after the government postponed polls in Province 2, the agitating Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) has decided to continue with its protests. However, the decision has triggered serious internal disputes in the party.
Dissatisfied with the government's decision to postpone polls in Province-2, some radical leaders of the party during a meeting on Friday insisted that the protests should continue. But more moderate elements suggested withdrawing all the protests, said party leaders.
While some in the party have hinted that it would take part in the June 28 local polls in Province-5, RJPN has announced that it will not participate and will instead boycott the polls as the unilateral decision on postponement in Province 2 was unacceptable.
“The position of the party is not to take part in the polls until the demands of the Federal Alliance are addressed. The meeting has decided to continue the protests, concluding that the unilateral decision fixing the election date is unacceptable,” reads a statement issued by RJPN coordinator Mahantha Thakur.
Unveiling the program of protests, RJPN said it would stage rallies with staves in all district headquarters of the 'Madhes-Tharuhat region' on June 17 and a general strike on June 18. The Election Commission has scheduled June 18 as the date for filing candidacies for the June 28 polls in Provinces 1, 5 and 7.
RJPN, which is unhappy with the constitution, has been staging demonstrations demanding amendments to the provisions concerning citizenship, representation in the national assembly, languages and provincial boundaries among other things.
Some leaders in the six-member presidium are dissatisfied with the decision after their suggestion to withdraw the polls was ignored, they said. The new party formed through the unification of six different Madhes-based parties decided to continue its protest programs, stating that the government decided to postpone the polls unilaterally.
“The government itself has divided us by postponing polls in Province 2 alone. People from Provinces 2 and 5 fought for the same cause but the poll has been postponed purportedly to address the grievances of people in Province 2 alone,” said Brijesh Gupta, admitting to a dispute within the party.
Keshav Jha, another leader of the party, also said that the party reached the decision after some leaders insisted on giving continuity to the protests, citing the case of Province 5.
According to sources in the party, Thakur and Sharad Singh Bhandari are for withdrawing the protests while Rajendra Mahato and Raj Kishor Yadav are for continuing. Hridayesh Tripathi is also irked with the postponing of polls in one province only, said the sources.
“The tendency of the leaders to always render Madhes fragile is getting us nowhere. We struggle for our rights but our leaders never think about institutionalizing our achievements.
We are tired of protests and agitations,” said a second rung party leader requesting anonymity.