KATHMANDU, May 23: The Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) has said that the government's decision to increase the number of local units in tarai falls short of creating a positive environment for the second phase of local elections.
A Cabinet meeting on Monday decided to add 22 local units in the tarai plains in order to appease the RJPN and other Madhes-based parties. CPN (Maoist Center) leaders said that the decision was taken at the behest of RJPN leaders who hinted at going to the polls if the number of local units in tarai was increased.
“Our demand is a proportionate increase in the number of local units in the entire terai plains based on the population. The government is treating us like beggars. We had not asked for alms,” RJPN leader Rajendra Mahato told Republica.
He said that the number of local units should be increased in proportion to the population of various areas. .
Though close aides of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal insist that the government decided to increase the number of local units after RJPN leaders hinted at going to polls, Madhesi leaders refuted the claim.
In a telephone conversation with RJPN leaders on Monday morning, PM Dahal had dismissed the immediate possibility of constitution amendment before the second phase of local polls but reaffirmed the governing parties' commitment to address other remaining concerns of the Madhesi parties.
Though the PM's close aides maintained that the RJPN would take part in the polls, RJPN leaders themselves would not tell whether the decision has paved the way for them to participate in the June 14 elections.
RJPN is the only party which still remains undecided over the elections.
The party, at least in public, has made constitution amendment its bottom-line to contest in the local elections.
“If we agree to go to polls without the amendment, the voters will throw shoes at us. The constitution should be amended at any cost if they want elections,” said RJPN leader Brishesh Chandra Lal.
While a section of RJPN leaders have made up their mind to stick to their decision of boycotting the polls, some others look keen to go to elections even without constitution amendment if there is an appropriate increase in the number of local units.