Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has dismissed talk about government plans to keep constitution amendment bill inactive and go for local level elections as rumours. During a meeting Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur and Naya Shakti Nepal Coordinator Baburam Bhattarai on Friday evening, PM Dahal said the government would certainly take the amendment bill to the House for discussion.
Thakur and Bhattarai had met PM Dahal to enquire about the government’s official position on the amendment bill after reports that Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli on Tuesday agreed, in principle, to keep the amendment bill inactive and prepare for local polls. PM Dahal also said that the government would announce the dates for local elections after consultation with the Samyutka Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha and other agitating forces.
“The government has no plans to keep the bill inactive. And we have no plans to go to elections without taking the Morcha on board,” a leader quoted PM as saying.
Bhattarai and Thakur had taken strong exception to the understanding reached among three major parties, describing it as a conspiracy to deny rights to Madhesi and other communities.
The duo also warned against plans to hold local polls under the old set-up, saying such a move would put historical achievements including federalism at stake.
Meanwhile, PM Dahal rang up Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato and assured him that he would do the needful to address the demands of the Madhes-based parties by getting the bill endorsed in Parliament. “He registered the amendment proposal as promised. I am hopeful that he will keep his word this time and work to get the bill endorsed in Parliament,” said Mahato.
The changing stance ruling parties has left the Morcha leadership in a sort of a fix of late. While some leaders are seeking to mount pressure on the government to take the bill to the House, others have started discussion to resume fresh protest.
Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav, who has objected to the bill, has been saying fresh protests should be launched without delay.
Yadav of late has found a new ally in Bhattarai who has proposed forming a grand alliance between the Madhes-based parties and Naya Shakti Nepal.
Mahato and Thakur are yet to respond to the offer.
17-12-2016, The Kathmandu Post