RJP-Nepal agrees to take part in Phase III local polls

  • Constitution amendment bill to be put to vote most likely on Tuesday
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Aug 12, 2017-The Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) has agreed to participate in the third 

phase of local elections scheduled for September 18 in Province 2.

The government on Friday decided to put the constitution amendment bill to vote as per the request of the RJP-N. The bill will be tabled in parliament most likely on Tuesday.

The RJP-N, a unified force of six Madhes-based parties, did not take part in the first phase local polls on May 14 and boycotted the second round held on June 28, saying its demands, including an amendment to the constitution, were not addressed by the government. 

But during a meeting with the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre) on Friday at Baluwatar, the RJP-N, which concluded its seven-day-long marathon meeting on Tuesday, asked the government to put the constitution amendment bill to vote.

“RJP-N leaders urged the government to move the amendment bill forward, saying they are ready to join the polls,” said Maoist Centre leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha. 

The RJP-N’s decision to participate in the polls comes a day after the Supreme Court (SC) paved the way for adding local units in eight districts of Province 2. 

Increasing the number of local units is also one of the demands of the RJP-N.

The government’s earlier decision taken on May 22 to increase 22 local units in 12 Tarai districts was stayed by the apex court on May 26. But on Thursday, the SC vacated its earlier stay order and quashed a writ that challenged the government decision, allowing the government to increase the number of local units in Province 2. 

Earlier on July 11, the ruling parties had communicated to RJP-N leaders that constitution amendment was not possible they lacked the required numbers for the same in Parliament. 

RJP-N leaders are learnt to have told the government that they were ready to accept the outcome of voting on the constitution amendment bill.

“Our main demand is constitution amendment and we have come to an agreement to conclude the matter within a few days,” said RJP leader Sharat Singh Bhandari.

At Friday’s meeting, the ruling parties and the RJP-N reached an agreement to conclude the constitution amendment issue by mid-August.

“The ruling coalition has promised to address other demands of our party, so we have decided to participate in the polls,” said RJP-N leader Mahendra Raya Yadav. 

During the party’s seven-day-long meeting, six leaders of the presidium were divided over participating in the polls, with two calling for joining the election process, two staying neutral and the other two saying the party should not take part in the elections until the constitution is amended.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission said that the RJP-N would only be able to use one of the electoral symbols of its constituent parties.

9 local units to be added in Province 2

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development is preparing to add nine local units in Province 2, which currently has 127 local units. This will take the total number of local units across the country to 753. Currently, Province 2 has 78 rural municipalities and 49 municipalities. With the revision, the province will have 59 rural municipalities and 76 municipalities and one metropolis. (PR)

Published: 12-08-2017 07:40

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