Congress for holding ‘interim local polls’
- Sticks to its position that 565 village and municipal councils not enough
Aug 24, 2016-
A meeting of the Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party on Tuesday concluded that the government should hold “interim local elections” under the existing structure in view of confusion over the number of local units in the federal set-up.
The Local Body Restructuring Commission (LBRC), formed to determine the number and boundaries of local units (village and municipal councils), has proposed 565 local units across the country.
But the NC has not only found fault with the LBRC’s entire work but also has said that the number proposed by it is “too less”, especially when it comes to delivering services to the general public.
Holding local level elections is key to implementing the constitution, and failure to do so could throw the statute implementation process into limbo. Some NC lawmakers also called for “scientific and rational” restructuring of local bodies, saying LBRC’s proposal “is not only illogical but also impractical”.
In order to hold “interim elections” of local bodies under the existing structure, the party has decided to hold talks with other political parties. On Monday, during the meeting of NC’s district presidents and central committee members, most of the leaders had called for having at least 1,000 local units across the country.
During Tuesday’s PP meeting, party President Sher Bahadur Deuba reiterated that since holding elections of local bodies is a must for constitution implementation, the country should go for local polls under the existing structure “if political parties cannot agree to the proposal of the LBRC and any other alternative”. “Once we reach consensus on a particular number or any other alternative, elections can be held again. For now, we have to go for elections, even if they have to be conducted under the existing structure,” he said.
Under current structure, there are 3,157 village development committees and 217 municipalities.
On Tuesday, LBRC Chairman Balananda Poudel had explained to the Congress lawmakers the basis for proposing 565 local units. “The objective is strengthening and empowering the local bodies,” said Poudel, adding that in the new set-up, present VDCs will be turned into wards, which will function as quasi-judicial bodies.
NC lawmaker Minendra Rijal said the narrative of the restructuring should be changed and that population, geography and human development indices should be taken into account while determining the number and boundaries of local units. “The question is whether we can deliver services and facilities to the people,” he said.
Party President Deuba said that the suggestions given by lawmakers will be discussed at party’s Central Working Committee meeting before the party decides on its position on local body restructuring.
“The NC will hold discussions with other political parties as well regarding local level elections and how to go about it,” he said. “There is no alternative to local polls.”
'We have to go for local level elections even if they have to be conducted under the existing structure. There is no alternative to local polls'
-Sher Bahadur Deuba, president, NC
Published: 24-08-2016 08:21
- Nepali Congress