BIRATNAGAR, May 27: Cadres of the agitating Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) and other Madhes-based parties have celebrated the government's announcement to upgrade Biratnagar Sub-metropolitan City to a metropolitan city a few days ago. They organized a rally in the city area, carrying party flags and banners, claiming that the city had been upgraded to a metropolis because of them.
They tried to attract the people's attention, claiming 'a major role' behind the government's decision taken on Monday. Observers have taken this act as the Madhes-based parties' overture to participate in the polls.
This is, however, not the single incident where the cadres of the Madhes-based parties have tried to woo the voters. A few weeks ago, cadres of the the Madhes-based parties “exposed” that the contractor had used low quality bricks while constructing a culvert at Rodshesh Chowk.
It was also a propaganda made by the cadres belonging to the Madhes-based parties. Experts believe that these incidents are some examples that show that the Madhes-based parties are eager to participate in the local polls.
Meanwhile, the central leaders of the RJPN on Friday decided to protest against the polls.
“People in Madhes are eager to choose their representatives and cadres of the agitating Madhes-based parties are also showing interest in contesting the polls,” said Sanjay Singh, a political observer in Madhes, adding, “The people in Madhes are in the mood to elect their representatives.”
Likewise, local leaders in various Madhes areas are also keen about registering their candidacies for the local polls. “There is a huge number of local leaders who want to contest the polls,” he said.
Another observer Chandra Kishor Jha, however, has quite different arguments. He said that Madhes could witness massive protests during the election.
But he stressed that there is no meaning of protests and that people in various parts of Madhes are in favor of the election. They have already started discussing the polls and have shown eagerness to take part in the election.
“I got a mixed perception of people about the local polls and protests in Madhes. But preparations for the polls are slowly happening in most places,” said Jha.
He also said that election preparations are taking place also in Birgunj, the other sub-metropolis in tarai that was recently upgraded to a metropolis.
Bijay Prasad Mishra, another observer, argued that election is the way to review the relationship between the leaders and the people.
However, another agitating Madhes-based party, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, has already started preparations in Biratnagar for the polls slated for June 14.
“The local election is happening after 20 years,” Mishra said, "If RJPN will not contest the polls, other parties stand to take advantage. That could damage their political career.”
A cabinet meeting on Monday had decided to create an additional 22 local units in the southern plains of the country to fulfill the agitating Madhes-based parties' demands.
Also, it decided to upgrade Birgunj and Bitratnagar sub-metropolitan cities to metropolitan cities. Additionally, 24 rural municipalities are being upgraded to municipalities as decided by the cabinet meeting.