Morcha puts PM under pressure

- ROSHAN SEDHAI, Kathmandu

Feb 19, 2017-

The Madhes-based parties have warned of severing ties with the governing coalition, making Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal reconsider his plan to declare dates for local level elections on Sunday.

Dahal returned to power in last year after the Madhes-based parties threw their weight behind the Maoist Centre-Nepali Congress alliance in the prime ministerial election. 

During a meeting at Baluwatar on Saturday, PM Dahal’s proposal to announce the dates for local polls and make sustained efforts to get the constitution amendment bill endorsed simultaneously failed to go down well with the Samyutka Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha. The Morcha, an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, instead warned that it would sever ties with the governing alliance and launch fresh protest. 

“We don’t really have enough support to pass the bill. So there aren’t many choices. We can seek support to get the bill endorsed after announcing dates for polls,” PM Dahal, according to one of his aides, told the Morcha leaders. “The bill will be endorsed before the elections. The agendas raised by the Morcha are also ours,” PM Dahal added.

But Morcha leaders rejected the proposal, saying that it was against the spirit of the three-point agreement reached with the NC and the Maoist Centre while forming the Dahal-led government last year. They claim that announcing local level elections will further dampen the prospects of constitution amendment.

Taking strong exception to PM Dahal’s proposal, Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav called it a design to skip the charter amendment process. He warned that such a move would put constitution implementation in jeopardy and threaten the historical achievements such as federalism and republicanism.

“Our road will diverge from the point the government announces elections,” Yadav told the Post. “If they declare the polls, we will announce our protest. There will also be some rethinking on our relations with the government as it no longer wishes to stick to the agreement we reached on constitution amendment.”

Madhesi leaders said they were surprised at the sudden change in the tone of PM Dahal and the NC leadership. 

Amid the government’s preparation to announce the polls, the Madhesi parties have intensified internal discussions to decide their future strategy. 

Published: 19-02-2017 08:01

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