KATHMANDU, Dec 27: After Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal started avoiding a meeting with members of the commission formed to restructure local units, the commission sent a letter to him Monday, requesting a meeting to hand over its final report on local restructuring under the federal system.
On December 17, a team from the commission led by its chairman Balananda Poudel reached the official residence of the prime minister at Baluwatar and requested him to schedule an appointment for handing over its final report fixing the number and boundaries of local units under the new federal system.
“But more than a week passed and we did not get any response from the prime minister. So, we decided to send a letter to him requesting him to fix an appointment for the commission to hand over its final report,” Sunil Ranjan Singh, a member of the commission, said.
In its letter to the prime minister, the commission has stated that it has completed its entire task related to fixing the numbers and boundaries of the village councils, municipalities and special, protected or autonomous areas in line with the criteria set by the government; and as the commission has decided to hand over its report to the government, it formally requests the prime minister to schedule an appointment for the purpose, according to Singh.
He said that the commission sought an appointment with the prime minister to submit its report in view of the prime minister's frequent request to submit the report to the government latest by mid-December so that the government could hold local polls by mid-April, 2017. According to the commission, the total number of local units under the new federal system will be around 725.
Though the tenure of the commission is valid till mid-March, 2017, Prime Minister Dahal had publicly asked the commission to submit its report latest by mid-December so that the government could hold local polls by mid-April, 2017 under the new federal setup.
But lately, the ruling Nepali Congress and the agitating Madhes-based parties have been demanding that the local polls should be held under the existing local setup. Similarly, the main opposition CPN-UML has been saying that it prefers local polls to be held under the new setup but if the government announces dates for local polls immediately, they are also ready for local polls under the exiting setup.
Following these political developments, the prime minister has been avoiding a meeting with members of the commission because once he receives the report, the existing local setup will automatically transform into the village councils and municipalities created by the commission.
Talking to Republica, Chakrapani Khanal, political advisor of the prime minister, said that the prime minister will not accept the commission's report until there is agreement among the political parties whether to hold local polls under the existing setup or under the new setup.