Letter from govt lacks clarity, says poll bodyThe Election Commission (EC) on Friday described a government letter requesting the poll body to start preparations for local polls as a positive step, but said the missive lacked clarity.
The Election Commission (EC) on Friday described a government letter requesting the poll body to start preparations for local polls as a positive step, but said the missive lacked clarity.
As per a Cabinet decision on Thursday, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday wrote to the EC, asking it to start preparations for local elections.
Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav said an EC meeting on Friday concluded that the letter from the government asking the poll body to gear up for polls does show government commitment to hold local elections. “But we felt that it should have carried more details, including the dates when the government wants to conduct polls,” said Yadav.
According to EC officials, Friday’s meeting, however, stopped short of deciding on how to respond to the government. “After dwelling on the letter, we concluded that it lacked clarity,” they said.
“The letter does not say when the government wants to hold local elections and under which structure—existing or the new one—it wants us to conduct the elections,” said Gopi Nath Mainali, secretary at the EC.
However, the EC believes if local elections are held, they would be conducted under the new structure, as the Bill on Local Election Procedure Act has already been endorsed by Parliament and that this calls for holding local level elections under the new structure.
According to the EC officials, the election body has been doing internal preparations keeping in mind May 12 to June 8 as dates for local elections.
But there are other hurdles as well.
To hold the elections under the new local structure, the government must implement a report prepared by the Local Level Restructuring Commission (LLRC).
The government on Thursday formed a three-member committee led by Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Hitraj Panday to study the issues related to the LLRC report. The Madhes-based parties have objected to the report and demanding that it should be revised.
Earlier in the day, while speaking at the Reporters’ Club, CEC Yadav said the delay on the part of the government to implement the LLRC report could hamper poll plans.
The EC cannot set up election centres unless the LLRC report comes into force.
On its part, the EC has almost completed the task of updating voters’ list in all save 14 districts. The deadline to update voters’ list in these districts has been extended till February 11.