RJP-N for postponing elections

  • The govt, however, is set to end House session today
- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 18, 2017-Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) leaders have urged both the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre) to postpone the second phase of local polls to ensure the endorsement of the amendment proposal.

Leaders of the RJP-N met NC leaders at Singha Durbar and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at Baluwatar, demanding an environment for them to participate in the second phase of local polls scheduled for June 14.

The Madhesi parties have been saying that constitution amendment is the prerequisite for them to participate in the second phase of the local elections. “We urged both the parties to abide by the agreement signed with us and create an environment to participate in the polls,” said RJP-N leader Rajendra Mahato.

However, with the chances  of garnering two-thirds majority in the House to endorse the constitution amendment bill fizzling out, the government is planning to end the current session of the Legislature-Parliament, going against its assurance to the dissident Madhesi parties to put the amendment bill to vote immediately after the first phase of local elections. 

The House meeting has been called for Thursday after it was adjourned by 10 days. According to the constitution, the prime minister in consultation with the Speaker writes to the President to end the House. The President’s Office then writes to the Parliament Secretariat accordingly. Speaker Onasari Gharti is likely to bring the curtains down to the current session in Thursday’s meeting as per the letter from the President’s Office. The ongoing budget session or monsoon session of Parliament began on May 3 last year. No winter session of Parliament was called 

this time. 

“The next session will be called shortly,” said Energy Minister Janardan Sharma without specifying the date. On government’s recommendation, the President will set the date for the next session. 

Apparently, the government has no plan to table the amendment at Thursday’s meeting. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Law and Justice Ajay Shankar Nayak said that it would be meaningless to put the amendment bill to vote without ensuring two-thirds majority. The government must garner 396 votes in favour in the 594-strong Parliament to get the constitution amendment bill endorsed.

Mahato said his party would have no option but to revive the stalled struggle plan if the government failed to deliver on its promise.

Under pressure from various quarters to join the polls, the RJP-N leaders are now seeking some kind of face saving strategy.

The ruling party leaders have also urged the RJP-N to join the polls even if the proposal fails to garner the required two-thirds votes. But the RJP-N leaders are against such a move. 

However, RJP-N leader Keshav Jha said his party was for postponing the local polls by five months to complete all the pending works. 

If that is not possible, he said, the parties should ensure that the constitution is amended before the provincial and federal polls and address all the remaining issues, including increasing the local units in the plains.

The government’s urge to end the ongoing session stems from the fact that it is mandatory to call another session to present the budget for fiscal year 2017/18 on May 29. 

Considering the second phase of local polls, the government with the consent from the main opposition is preparing to present the budget without new policies and programmes.

A total of 50 proposals have been registered in the amendment bill. The government had on April 11 withdrawn the bill tabled on January 8 and replaced it with another. The revision in the amendment was registered on April 29 in the spirit of the agreement reached with the regional parties a week earlier.

Published: 18-05-2017 07:59

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