KATHMANDU, August 2: Indian envoy to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri has advised the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) to participate in the third phase of the local elections. Eight districts of Province 2 are scheduled to go to the polls on September 18.
During a meeting held at the Indian embassy in the capital on Tuesday, Puri advised RJPN presidium to participate in the elections while continuing pressure on the government for amending the constitution. Puri's advise comes at a time when the government is struggling to pass the amendment bill owing to lack of political consensus.
RJPN leaders said that the party would decide what to do once the amendment bill is put to vote in parliament.
"We told him that there has not been any change in our party's position. The government should make sincere efforts to pass the bill and address our non-political demands like withdrawal of criminal cases against our leaders and cadres," said an RJPN leader.
The leaders said their party could change its strategy if the bill fails in Parliament.
Puri had reportedly inquired with RJPN leaders about their possible strategy in the event of the bill failing in Parliament. The government still lacks around three dozen votes in parliament to get the amendment endorsed.
Mahantha Thakur, Rajendra Mahato, Anil Kumar Jha, Sharat Singh Bhandari and Mahendra Raya Yadav were present at the meeting held at the Indian Embassy.
With the ruling parties officially ruling out any possibility of constitution amendment before the local polls, several second-rung RJPN leaders have stood in favor of contesting the polls saying that the decision to boycott the first and second phase of the local polls caused irreparable loss to the party.