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Pressure mounts on RJP-N; all eyes on 3rd phase now

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 29, 2017-

Following enthusiastic turnout of voters in the second phase of local elections on Wednesday, including a large swathes of the Tarai, political leaders and observers say, the heat is now on the agitating Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal to join the third phase of elections. 

However, RJP-N leaders are in no mood to throw in the towel just yet, maintaining that they would not participate  in the polls until their demands are addressed.

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was in Dhangadi to cast his vote, told reporters that “successful and peaceful” elections on Wednesday had widened the prospects of constitution implementation. 

The PM added he would purely concentrate on the next round of polls, with emphasis on convincing the opposition for endorsing the constitution amendment proposal and bringing the RJP-N on board the poll process.

 

With this hard nut to crack, the PM also needs to carry on other preparations to ensure the two elections--federal and provincial parliaments--which should met under the deadline of by 21, January 2018.

  

Once the elections are over, leaders of the ruling alliance say, fresh rounds of negotiations will take place in Kathmandu to address the grievances of the Madhes-centric parties which is also a pre-condition to holding elections in Province 2.

 

Many RJP-N supporters and cardres either contested the elections as independent candidates or cast the vote on Wednesday despite the party’s decision not to cooperate in the poll process.

The third phase of local polls is slated for September 18 after an agreement between the ruling coalition and the Madhes-based parties after the former committed that they would address their grievances.  

Some of the RJP-N leaders maintained that they had never rejected the elections, while arguing that unfulfilled demands pegged them from joining the poll process.

 

“Once we return to Kathmandu, we will prepare a strategy on our future moves. But the bottom line is that we will not participate even in the third phase of local elections until our demands are met,” clarified RJP-N Co-chair Sharat Singh Bhandari. 

But another section of the Madhesi leaders--who came on board the election process--said that the RJP-N should have participated in the second phase of the elections itself.

“Elections are essential to consolidate the people’s right down to the grassroots level. That’s why we took part in these elections,” said Upendra Yadav, chairman of the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum, coming down heavily against some of the RJP-N leaders.

“The RJP-N missed out on the chance because it always long for blessings and instruction rather than respecting people’s thoughts and aspirations.” 

“The level of enthusiasm people showed by participating in these elections only proves how important holding elections in the country,” added Yadav. 

Analyst and advocate Dipendra Jha also believes pressure is building on the RJP-N to come on board in the third phase, but much will depend on actions of the ruling and the main opposition parties back in Kathmandu.

“We never said we will not take part in polls. The only grievance was our demands have not been met,” said Mahendra Yadav, another RJP-N co-chair.

Published: 29-06-2017 08:08

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