Govt, Morcha remain at odds over poll date

  • constitution amendment
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 12, 2017-The government and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhes Morcha, an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, are at odds over announcing the date for local elections, leaving the fate of the amendment bill in the balance. 

While the government appears determined to go to the polls regardless of the result over the bill in Parliament, the Madhes-based parties are against the plan. Despite expressing readiness to take part in the elections after amendment to the constitution, Morcha leaders have maintained ubiquitous silence on their plans if the bill gets defeated in the House. 

Amid opposition from the main opposition CPN-UML, the government still looks nowhere closer to garnering two-thirds majority to push the bill through Parliament.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s Chief Political Advisor Chakrapani Khanal said the government would use all its means to push the bill through Parliament. He, however, clarified that the government would move on with the poll plans even if the bill fails to get enough votes. 

“Our priority is to go to the elections once the amendment takes place but we won’t linger on if the bill gets defeated in the House. The election would be announced soon come what may,” said Khanal. PM Dahal and his close aides are reaching out to fringe parties including the Rastriya Prajatantra Party and the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik seeking support for the bill. The Nepali Congress leadership is making parallel efforts to win over the UML. 

Though the government officials claim that the Morcha would also participate in the election even if the bill is defeated in Parliament, Morcha leaders have ruled out such possibilities. 

 “The bill should be passed at any cost. The government should clearly tell the UML that the election is not possible without amendment. The UML, if it is really earnest about elections, would be forced to back the bill if the NC and Maoist Centre take firm stance,” Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato told the Post. 

Though mindful of challenges in passing the bill, Madhesi leaders retain hopes that the bill will be endorsed. 

“Both the NC and Maoist Centre have assured us that the bill would be passed. 

And we believe in them,” said Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Vice-chairman Hridayesh Tripathi, adding that the Morcha would wait till the bill is put to vote before deciding its stance on the elections.

Published: 12-01-2017 07:34

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