Congress CWC meeting: Province 2 leaders for early deal with SLMM

  • Float options including poll deferral by 10 days and elections in two phases
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Apr 16, 2017-

Lawmakers and central leaders of the Nepali Congress (NC) from Province 2 have pressed the party leadership to break the political deadlock with the agitating Madhes-based parties at the earliest and bring them on board elections.

At a meeting of NC’s Central Working Committee (CWC) in the Capital on Saturday, lawmakers and central members from Province 2 were of the view that polls on May 14 would be difficult if the Madhes-based parties were not convinced to participate.

The Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, has rejected the government’s new constitution amendment proposal and vowed to disrupt local level elections, saying its demands remain unaddressed even after several rounds of negotiations.

NC lawmaker Farmullah Mansur, who represents Bara district, said most of the leaders were for addressing the Madhes-based parties’ demand of constitution amendment to ensure participation of all sections of society in the polls. “The government can go for two-phase polls if it takes more time to amend the constitution,” said Mansur quoting some leaders as saying. “Others were of the view that polls ‘can be’ held in single-phase if they are held 10 days later.”

Party President Sher Bahadur Deuba, however, appeared to be firm on holding polls in single phase, according to some NC leaders. The reason why Deuba still wants polls on May 14 in single phase could be the deal he has reached with Prime Minister and CPN (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, as per which “the Maoist party has to hand over the government leadership to the Congress after local polls”. 

According to NC leader Ananda Prasad Dhungana, the meeting decided to urge the Madhes-based parties to join the dialogue instead of taking to the streets.

The Congress party, a key coalition partner in the Dahal government, had called the meeting of the leaders representing Province 2 to assess the environment for local polls in their constituencies and seek their opinions on the recently registered constitution amendment bill. 

The party has 38 lawmakers and 13 central members from Province 2. 

There are eight districts in Province 2—Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara and Parsa—with 2,664,792 registered voters (19 percent of total registered voters).

Deuba, according to a leader, said the government was serious about addressing the Morcha’s demands and therefore it had introduced a new amendment proposal. “But with no clear two-third majority in sight, it is kind of stuck,” Deuba said. “The government will continue efforts to break the deadlock with the Morcha.”

Ram Krishna Yadav, a lawmaker from Dhanusha district, told the Post that leaders during the meeting said that it would be difficult to hold elections in Province 2 unless there is an agreement with the Morcha.

The government registered the new amendment proposal at the Parliament Secretariat on Tuesday in a bid to address the Morcha’s concerns. But the Morcha the following day rejected it, saying the proposal “is against the spirit of the demands” put forth by the Madhes-based parties. It has also announced protests and decided to boycott May 14 elections.

Published: 16-04-2017 08:17

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