May 31, 2017 03:30 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, May 30: Indian ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri have suggested to the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) to take part in the second phase of local elections. Indian envoy Puri gave such suggestion during a two-hour meeting with top leaders of the RJPN held at Indian Embassy in Lainchaur on Tuesday morning.
Ambassador Puri's suggestion came a day after the government postponed the second-phase of local elections to give the agitating party time for polls preparation.
During the meeting, the ambassador reportedly inquired with RJPN leaders about the party's next move in the wake of the government decision to postpone the local elections to bring the agitating parties on board the elections. On Monday, the government had postponed the second phase of the elections for June 23 at the behest of RJPN leaders who sought "more time" to get registered with the EC and acquire a common election symbol.
Puri, who was appointed India's ambassador to Nepal in March, sought to learn the RJPN's stance on the local polls following the postponement of the election date, said a leader who was present at the meeting. "It would be prudent to go to the polls while keeping doors for struggle open," an RJPN leader quoted the ambassador as saying at the meeting. Puri, however, clarified that India would 'respect any decision that the RJPN takes is in the larger interest of the party and Madhesi people'.
Puri said that the possibility of constitution amendment before the polls have almost ended due to lack of political consensus among the major parties. He expressed hopes that the next government led by NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba would amend the constitution after the second phase of the local polls.
RJPN leaders, however, said that they would take an appropriate decision after holding consultation with other constituent parties of the Federal Alliance. Mahantha Thakur, Rajendra Mahato, Anil Kumar Jha, Sharat Singh Bhandari and Mahendra Raya Yadav were present at the meeting at the Indian embassy. Raj Kishor Yadav, one of the leaders of the RJPN, was not present at the meeting.
With the ruling parties officially ruling out any possibility of constitution amendment before the local polls, RJPN leaders appear divided over whether to take part in the polls.
While a section of the RJPN leaders has insisted on the need for boycotting the polls, others are reportedly in favor of contesting the polls. Sources said that some RJPN leaders are in favor of contesting the polls even at the cost of splitting the party citing increasing pressures of cadres on the ground. RJPN leaders are holding a meeting on Wednesday to thrash out their official position on the elections.
"A decision regarding our position on the elections could come tomorrow [Wednesday]," Anil Kumar Jha told Republica.