NC leaders say polls bottomline

- SARIN GHIMIRE, Kathmandu
Leaders, however, remain unclear whether the polls would be held in the new structure or for the existing local bodies

Jan 1, 2017-Nepali Congress leaders have stressed the need for holding the local elections as soon as possible, urging the main opposition CPN-UML to let Parliament function for passing necessary legislations.

Stating that elections were the bottom line of the party, three NC leaders on Saturday prodded their cadres and locals to gear up for the local polls. Leaders, however, could not say clearly whether the polls would be held in the new structure or for the existing local bodies.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi asked Congress leaders and cadres to be ready for the local polls. He said the government was looking to hold the elections in April. “We will soon announce the date for local elections. It depends on the agreement we reach with the political parties on whether to hold the local polls in the new or existing structure,” Nidhi told reporters in Gorkha.

Since the UML has been obstructing the House proceedings ever since the government registered the constitution amendment bill in Parliament on November 29, election-related bills are in limbo. Theoretical discussion on the Bill on Local Level Elections and the Bill to Amend and Integrate Prevailing Laws on Election Offences and Punishment is expected to be held once Parliament resumes business.

But the NC has yet to be fully clear whether the elections should be held for the new set-up of the local bodies or the old one. Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ramesh Lekhak said the party was open to both the options even though it would be more appropriate to hold the polls under the new structure. 

“Personally I feel that if we go for the polls under a new structure we respect the spirit of the constitution. But we could also go for the old structure and make changes gradually in the number of local units before holding the next round of polls,” Lekhak told the Post.

The Local Level Restructuring Commission is yet to submit is report to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The report, which proposes over 700 local units, has come under criticism.

Experts have claimed that such a high number of local units is not feasible for the country as the administrative cost of running them would be too high. On the other hand, the Madhes-based parties have rejected the restructuring report outright.

Published: 01-01-2017 08:02

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