Morcha announces stir

- ROSHAN SEDHAI, Kathmandu

Feb 21, 2017-

The Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, unveiled a month-long protest programme including Tarai banda, denouncing the government’s announcement of local level election date.

The regional parties’ response came shortly after the Cabinet decided to hold the local elections on May 14. The date was announced amid the opposition of the Madhes-based parties, which had supported the election of Pushpa Kamal Dahal as the prime minister. 

“They kept telling us that the constitution would be amended before announcing the election date. What is this if not betrayal?” Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato told the Post. “There will be a fitting response from our side.”

Issuing a statement on Monday, Morcha announced to hold torch rallies across the country on Tuesday and shut down 20 districts of the Tarai on Wednesday. After two weeks of initial protest, fresh programmes of agitation would be announced, according to a leader of the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party.

The Tarai parties said the announcement would not change their position that constitution should be amended before the polls at any cost. On Sunday, Morcha leaders including Mahato had warned the ruling CPN (Maoist Centre) and Nepali Congress against announcing the election date.

Some Morcha allies are also insisting on withdrawing support to the government and holding mass meetings in Kathmandu and the plains. Leaders said the alliance would decide on its new strategy after holding a meeting.

“We had clearly told PM Dahal that we would be compelled to launch protests if our concerns are not met. Withdrawing support to the government is also on cards. The Morcha will decide further programmes after holding an extensive meeting later this week,” said Ashok Rai, senior leader of the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal. Some senior leaders including SSFN Chairman Upendra Yadav are out of Kathmandu.

Their further move would depend on the government’s activities, Rai added. PM Dahal on Tuesday said the government would take the constitution amendment process and the poll preparations side by side.

“The constitution amendment bill will be forwarded and endorsed before the planned polls. The Morcha should cooperate with the government instead of complicating the situation,” said PM’s chief political adviser Charkrapani Khanal.

Published: 21-02-2017 07:53

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