‘Will accept LLRC report with changes’

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 16, 2017-Madhes-based parties have hinted at accepting the report of the Local Level Restructuring Commission if appropriate changes are made in line to their demands. The regional parties said this during a meeting with a ministerial-level taskforce led by Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Hitraj Panday on Wednesday. The taskforce was formed to resolve row over the proposed demarcation of local boundaries at the political level. 

During a meeting held at the Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development, Madhesi leaders categorically proposed three changes in what they describe as ‘incomplete and biased report’.  

First, they demanded that the provincial government should be allowed to demarcate the local boundaries. They allege the government is deliberately setting up wrong precedent bypassing the jurisdiction of the provincial government. 

Second, they have demanded allocation of local boundaries based in proportion to total population. The Madhes based parties claim that half of the local set-ups should be allocated to 20 districts in the southern plains as it is home to more than half of the country’s total population. 

Three, they insist that the report should also include autonomous region, special areas and protected region as envisioned in the constitution. The proposed report makes no mention of autonomous region, special areas and protected region although it was in the ToR of the LLRC. 

“We clearly told them that the report is incomplete and against basic norms of federalism. It will intensify the gulf between the government and Madhesi parties if it is enforced as it is,” said Sanghiya Sadbhawana Party Chairman Anil Kumar Jha, who was present in the meeting. Minister Pandey assured Madhesi leaders that the government would address their concerns though he refrained from giving any specific promise. 

“The government makes necessary changes to take Morcha on board. We will incorporate the suggestions in our report,” a Madhesi leader present in the meeting quoted Minister Panday as saying. Minister for Supplies Deepak Bohara and Minister for Industry Nabindra Raj Joshi, other two members of the taskforce, were also present in the meeting. 

Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Vice-chair Brikhesh Chandra Lal said he took serious exception to the government’s attempt to bypass the provincial government in delimitation of local boundaries arguing that such activities could weaken the very essence of federalism. “The government’s reluctance in delimitation of autonomous, special and protected region have also raised serious question on its commitment to uphold spirit of federalism as enshrined in the constitution,” said Lal, who also took part in the meeting.

NC for increasing local level numbers

KATHMANDU: The ruling Nepali Congress has stood in favour of increasing the proposed number of local level units to ensure a wider participation of political parties in upcoming elections.

In order to create environment for polls and ensure the participation of Madhes-based parties, the party has started discussion to increase the number of local level units on the basis of population.

A report submitted by Local Level Restructuring Commission has proposed 719 which is opposed by the Samyukta Loktantantrik Madhesi Morcha. 

“If we want to bring the Madhesi Morcha on board for the elections, the number of local levels should be increased and we are also holding talks with other political parties in this line,” said Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Ramesh Lekhak.

The NC has started such discussion within the party where on Wednesday senior party leaders held a meeting on ways to convince the Madhes-based parties to bring them on board for the elections. Some NC district party presidents were also attended the meeting.

Chances of adding more local level units in Province 2 and some other disputed districts so that it will make a favourable environment for polls, according to the NC leaders.

A series of meetings between Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli on Tuesday and Wednesday concluded that the dates of the local polls be announced by this week whereas process of constitution amendment will go parallel with election preparations.

“No decision has been made to increase the numbers yet,” said Lekhak, adding that it would be decided later after consultations with other parties. “This is only one viable option that the NC has seen to ensure timely elections.”

According to the NC leaders, PM Dahal would hold a meeting with the Madhes-based parties on Thursday where he will communicate that the government is going to announce the poll dates, while clarifying that the constitution amendment process will not stop.

“Regardless of the Madhesi Morcha’s decision, the elections will be declared,” said the leader, adding that the PM and Deuba agreed to move ahead after receiving indications from the CPN-UML that it would support the amendment bill if the elections dates are announced. 

Published: 16-02-2017 08:24

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