KATHMANDU, Nov 30: Amid protests in various parts of the country against the proposed changes in the provincial boundaries and other provisions in the constitution, leaders from major four political parties on Wednesday discussed about holding the local elections.
The leaders during a meeting convened by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal showed readiness to hold all three levels of elections by mid-January 2018.
“The prime minister floated a proposal to hold the local polls in April next year. Leaders from all sides were unanimous in going for the elections but they couldn't conclude whether to hold the local polls under the existing structure or after restructuring the local units as per the new constitution,” CPN (Maoist Center) leader Narayankaji Shrestha told Republica.
Maoist Center and UML had insisted on holding the local polls only after restructuring the local units. But Nepali Congress (NC) leaders, insisted on holding the polls under the existing local set-up or taking ilakas as local units citing that holding the local polls after restructuring would be late.
“We can hold the local polls under the existing local set-up as we think that the polls would be delayed after finalizing the restructuring of the local units,” said Deputy Prime Minister Bimalendra Nidhi, who is also a NC leader.
The fourth largest party Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) said that the party is flexible in going for the election after restructuring or in the existing local set-up.
Ruling parties, in the meeting, urged the UML to withdraw its decision to obstruct the parliament meetings as it could block election-related bills from being endorsed from the parliament.
In response, main opposition CPN-UML leaders expressed doubt over the government's intention stating that the proposal was floated with a view to foil the growing anti-government protests following the registration of the constitution amendment bill. UML
Vice-chairman Bhim Rawal accused the government of trying to project the UML as if it was against the polls.
“We expressed our doubts over the intention of the government after it floated the idea of announcing election date just after registering the constitution amendment bill amidst our protests,” said Rawal emerging from the meeting. UML leaders, however, said that they are ready to negotiate.
“We have been insisting on holding the polls and assured the government of supporting its decision if the local polls are declared,” said UML deputy parliamentary party leader Subas Nembang.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Dahal held a meeting with office bearers of the local body restructuring commission. Dahal briefed the leaders that the commission will submit its final report within a few weeks.