Renewed deadlock fears loom largeAn ambivalent ruling coalition and a rigid main opposition, which looks buoyed by results of the first phase of local elections, have stoked some uncertainty over the second round polls, which are less than a month away.
An ambivalent ruling coalition and a rigid main opposition, which looks buoyed by results of the first phase of local elections, have stoked some uncertainty over the second round polls, which are less than a month away.
A promise by the Nepali Congress-Maoist Centre government that it would address the demands of the agitating Madhes-based parties, six of which have joined hands to form the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJP-N), had paved the way for local level elections in two rounds—first on May 14 and the second on June 14. With the first phase of polls over, negotiations have started on addressing the agitating party’s concerns which include constitution amendment and increasing the number of local units in some districts along the plains.
During a meeting of the seven major parties, including the RJPN, on Friday, the UML, according to sources, said that the country should head for the second round of polls instead of getting into issues like charter revision and increasing the number of local units.
RJP-N leaders, however, are learnt to have told the meeting that they would not participate in the second phase of polls until their demands are addressed. Just when it looked like the country was getting its politics straightened out, there are now fears of a renewed deadlock.
But boycotting polls will not be that easy, some leaders in the RJP-N, however, say.
With the country fully into the election cycle and huge enthusiasm among the voters during the first phase, a 71 percent voter turnout was estimated by the Election Commission, there is growing pressure on the RJPN to join the poll process. On top of that, the Upendra Yadav-led Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal, a major force in the Madhes region, participated in the first phase of polls, creating some unease in the RJPN leadership.
According to some leaders, the RJPN should rather go for “a political deal” with major parties for constitution amendment before the provincial and federal elections instead of pressing for charter revision before the June 14 polls. This could be a face-saving move for the agitating parties, they say.
A top RJP-N leader on Saturday hinted that the RJPN could participate in the second phase of polls even without an amendment to the constitution. Addressing an interaction in the Capital, Mahendra Raya Yadav of the RJP-N said that increasing the number of local units in the districts along the plains could pave the way for his party’s participation in the polls. But increasing the number of local units at this point of time has been opposed by the main opposition.
UML Secretary Pradip Gyawali told the Post that increasing the number of local units before the elections would be in serious violation of the election code of conduct. “Their [RJP-N’s] demand is contradictory. They are demanding sub-metropolises in different parts, which would decrease the number of local units. And then again they are saying the number of local units must be increased,” said Gyawali. “Nonetheless, the UML would not be an obstacle to increasing the number of local units, if this ensures the RJP-N’s participation in the polls,” he added.