KATHMANDU, Oct 12: Arguing that 'militant cadres' of CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) could unduly influence the polls, a section of leaders from the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) are exerting pressure on Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to hold the two-phases of polls in one go.
The NC leaders have asked the party's top leaders to defer the first phase of the polls scheduled for November 26 and hold both the polls across the country in one go on December 7 arguing that the parties in the left alliance could concentrate their "militant cadres" in the districts witnessing the polls and unduly influence the voters.
Speaking during the party's work performance committee meetings held in the wake of the announcement of the UML-Maoist Center electoral alliance, they have argued that both the UML and Maoist Center are good at mobilizing muscle force so it will not be prudent idea to hold the polls in two phases. They maintained that the 'militant cadres' of both the parties would concentrate in their respective constituencies and their chances of influencing the elections will decrease if the polls are held in one go.
NC leaders demanding deferral of the first phase of polls have also argued that it will be practically difficult for the parties to mobilize additional cadres to woo neutral voters if the polls are held in one go. The meeting, however, did not hold any further discussion on the issue, according to leaders.
While admitting that some leaders at the meeting had made the request, NC leader Ramesh Rijal said the rumor that the government was deferring the polls could have been spread amid speculations that the Supreme Court could order the government to determine the percentages of those to be placed under various clusters including minority, marginalized communities and backward regions while selecting poll candidacies.
A writ petition to this effect has already been filed at the Supreme Court and should the apex court order the government to determine their percentages, the nomination date of the poll candidates could be extended, thereby deferring at least the first phase of the polls.
Rijal, however, said that their party is committed to holding the polls on the stipulated dates.
According to Rijal, CPN-ML Chairman CP Mainali had instead suggested during a meeting with Prime Minister Deuba over constitutional issues to hold the polls in April next year. Mainali had reportedly argued that the constitutional deadline of January 21 does not have any meaning, as it is the government, not the parliament which is supposed to hold the polls.