RJP-N ‘ready’ for polls with one of six vote symbolsThe Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, which was formed after the merger of six Madhes-based parties, may participate in the second phase of local level elections by taking the vote symbol of one of its constituents if its concerns are addressed.
The Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, which was formed after the merger of six Madhes-based parties, may participate in the second phase of local level elections by taking the vote symbol of one of its constituents if its concerns are addressed.
Both RJP-N leaders and Election Commission officials confirmed that the party was ready to contest the local elections with one of the election symbols already printed in the ballot papers.
The new party had demanded ‘umbrella’ as its election symbol but election officials have said the symbol cannot be recognised as the ballot papers have already been printed and delivered to the districts.
After the government deferred twice the second phase of elections till June 28 and registered an amendment bill to the Local Level Election Act to give the parties more time for candidate nomination, the RJP-N has started making moves for participation in the upcoming polls. The second phase of local elections will be held in 461 local units in provinces 1, 2, 5 and 7.
On Sunday, some leaders of the RJP-N discussed with EC officials about registration of the new party and the vote symbol. An election official told the Post that they had sought three symbols from the EC for contesting the elections.
RJP-N leader Keshav Jha said they could contest the election with two or more election symbols based on the strength of the constituent parties before the merger.
The Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party had “twin bulls” as its election symbol while the Rastriya Madhes Samajbadi Party had “bicycle”. “Palm” was the symbol of the Nepal Sadbhawana Party and “arrow” that of the Sadbhawana Party.
“If they contest the elections with one of the six symbols, we will freeze other
symbols for a year according to the law,” said a senior election official. The RJP-N is yet to be registered with the EC for both organisational activities and the election purpose. Article 271 (2) of the constitution provisions that only the party submitting its annual audit report can be registered for election. “The government registering the bill on amending the Local Level Election Act is a positive gesture of accommodating us in the second phase of local elections,” said Sarbendra Nath Shukla, a senior leader of the RJP-N.
The proposed amendment authorises the EC to decide when the parties should submit the name and signature of their representatives to nominate candidates by replacing the current legal requirement of submitting the details 15 days before the candidate nomination date.
Shukla, however, said their participation would depend on how the major parties would respond to their concerns, particularly constitution amendment.