No plan to postpone polls, say NC leaders

  • Some Cong members calling for delaying nomination filing by a few days
- Post Report, Kathmandu
Some Nepali Congress leaders are learnt to have sought to know the possibility of holding both the elections on the single date—December 7

Oct 12, 2017-A left electoral alliance forged by two major communist forces has triggered speculation that the government might attempt to postpone elections.

Though government ministers and Nepali Congress (NC) leaders have said that there is no plan to postpone the federal and provincial polls scheduled for November 26 and December 7, there have been talks within the NC about postponing the date for filing nominations for the First-Past-the-Post candidates. 

The EC has already made public the election calendar as per which FPTP nominations have to be filed on October 22.

Some NC leaders are of the view that due to the Tihar festival, which will be observed on October 19-21, there is little time for preparations; hence the nomination filing date should be postponed by a few days.

Some believe the ruling NC is struggling to cobble together an effective coalition what it calls a “broader democratic alliance” with “likeminded forces” to counter a left electoral alliance forged by the UML, the CPN (Maoist Centre) and Naya Shakti Nepal and wants to buy time, as it fears the left forces together could sweep the elections. 

A day after the leftist forces announced their alliance, the NC on October 4 took initiatives to bring “likeminded forces” into its fold to form its ‘democratic alliance’. 

The EC was quick to respond, saying on October 6 that the ongoing alliance formation processes could hamper the scheduled polls.

On Tuesday also Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav requested the government not to take “any unpleasant decisions” that could affect the scheduled polls. “With the election date drawing closer, we are feeling uneasy due to the current political situation. We will have difficulties if unpleasant decisions are taken,” said Yadav at a programme in Kavre, reminding all concerned of its preparations to hold the polls on the scheduled date. 

Some NC leaders the Post talked to on Wednesday said that there have been no discussions for delaying the polls. However, some are learnt to have sought to know the possibility of holding both the polls on the single date—on December 7.

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary affairs Yagya Bahadur Thapa told the Post that the government is committed to holding elections on scheduled dates. “The government has not thought about postponing the elections,” said Thapa. 

Reports that Minister for Finance Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, a close aide to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, had held consultation with President Bidya Devi Bhandari about the possibility of postponing the polls also fanned the speculation. 

But the Office of the President has refuted the reports. Krishna Murari Neupane, spokesperson for the Office of the President, said no meeting has taken place between President Bhandari and Finance Minister Karki in recent days. President Bhandari’s Press Adviser Madhav Raj Sharma also said that he was unaware of any meetin g between the President and Karki. 

While the UML has publicly said the government is conspiring to postpone the polls, its electoral partner, the Maoist Centre, which is also the ruling NC’s coalition partner, is learnt to have been under pressure from a section of leaders for holding the elections in a single phase.

Published: 12-10-2017 07:36

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