Madhesi parties divided on participating in local polls

KATHMANDU: Madhesi parties in Nepal are divided over participating in the second phase of local body polls, with one faction insisting on taking part in the process to foil the reactionary forces’ conspiracy against federalism while other announcing fresh protests to disrupt elections.

Federal Socialist Forum Nepal led by senior Madhesi leader Upendra Yadav and Naya Shakti Party Nepal led by former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai issued a joint statement calling all Madhesi and ethnic parties, including the Rastriya Janta Party Nepal (RJPN), to participate in the second phase of local level elections on June 28.

“It is necessary to participate in the local level polls to foil the conspiracy hatched by reactionary forces against federalism and to consolidate the rights gained through past movements,” the joint statement said.

Election can also be utilised as a movement to protect our rights, the statement said.

The two parties said that they are open to forging electoral alliances with other Madhesi and ethnic parties.

The two parties also urged the government to honour the three point agreement reached between the Madhesi parties and the previous government led by CPN- Maoist Centre chief Prachanda to create a conducive environment for all to participate in the elections.

The two leaders also asked the government to withdraw false cases registered against Madhesi cadres, to provide compensation and treatment to those killed wounded in the Madhesi agitation and to amend the Constitution to address their demands.

On the other hand, the RJPN yesterday announced that it will boycott the second phase of local level elections.

The decision was taken after a meeting between Nepal’s ruling coalition and representatives of the RJPN to bring all disgruntled parties on board for the second phase of local level elections ended inconclusively.

Anil Jha, a leader of the RJP-N said that they would not participate in the elections until an amendment was made to the Constitution.

Some Madhes-centric parties have opposed the elections until the Constitution is amended to accommodate their views: more representation in parliament and redrawing of provincial boundaries.

The Nepal government has tabled a new Constitution amendment bill in the Parliament to address the demands of the agitating Madhesi parties ahead of the local elections.

Madhesis, mostly of Indian-origin, launched a prolonged agitation between September 2015 and February last year against the implementation of the new Constitution which they felt marginalised the Terai community. (PTI)

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