NC divided over polls in one go or two phases

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Majority of lawmakers and CWC leaders are for voting in one go but party chief has hinted at possibility of two-phase elections

Apr 8, 2017-The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) appears sharply divided over local level elections with a majority of lawmakers and central leaders making a pitch for voting in one go on May 14 and some senior leaders, including the party president, hinting at the possibility of polls in two phases. 

At a joint meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) and Parliamentary Party of the NC on Friday, party President Sher Bahadur Deuba hinted that polls can be held in two phases if “there is an agreement with the Madhes-based parties” which have warned of disrupting the elections. “If they agree to participate in polls, we have to be prepared for elections in two phases,” said Deuba. 

Krishna Prasad Sitaula, a senior NC leader, who is a member of a taskforce formed by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to iron out differences with the Madhesi Morcha, had briefed the meeting on the progress made so far. 

As many as 28 Congress lawmakers who aired their views on Friday were of the view that talks about holding polls in two phases were intended at foiling them. They made a strong pitch for elections in single phase, an NC leader said. 

NC leaders representing the Madhes, including Farmulla Mansoor and Ramkrishna Yadav, while called for holding polls in single phase, they urged the party leadership to take initiative to address the Madhes-based parties’ demand of constitution amendment. 

“It was a wrong move on the part of the government to not forward the constitution amendment bill citing a lack of required numbers to pass it in Parliament,” said Mansoor. 

However, Mahendra Yadav, also a lawmaker, said that it would be better to go for polls in two phases “as the government continues its efforts” to address the Morcha’s concerns. Chandra Mohan Yadav, also a Madhesi leader, was of the view that elections should not take place until the Morcha’s grievances are addressed. 

Of late PM Dahal has been making efforts to convince the Madhes-based parties with a proposal that the government will address all other concerns except boundary issue provided that they participate in elections set for May 14.

The Madhes-based parties, which are agitating under an alliance of Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, however, do not seem to be positive about PM Dahal’s proposal.   

The Congress of late has faced criticism for failing to make an impact on national politics, including on the issues raised by the Morcha, despite being the single largest party and a key coalition partner in the government. 

Senior NC leader Ram Chandra Paudel on Friday was critical of the party leadership for its failure to play a constructive role in national politics as well as on the government front. He also censured the party leadership for getting involved in issues like appointment of police chief and seniority row between deputy prime ministers.

Published: 08-04-2017 07:47

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