By Our Reporter
The deadline of Magh 15 (January 28, 2016) fixed by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to announce the dates of the local elections elapsed without making any such announcement.
Prime Minister Dahal, Deputy Prime Minister Bimalendra Nidhi, NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba had been assuring the public since long that the government was going to make the election dates for the local polls public by January 28.
The failure of the government to announce the election dates has spread speculations among the people and the CPN-UML whether the Prime Minister Dahal and NC boss Deuba were deliberately trying to defer the polls fearing defeat.
The people, including the supporters and intellectuals close to NC, are not happy with the party’s decision to form a government under the Maoist’s leadership and their move towards the amendment of the constitution. Even the NC activists are openly claiming that they will not cast vote to their party. Likewise, according independent analysts, the position of the Maoist-Centre will worsen further due to the exposure of the party’s pro-Indian image in recent months.
Deuba himself is suspicious about Prime Minister Dahal as to whether the latter was trying to lengthen his tenure by not announcing the poll dates because Dahal had agreed to handover the prime ministerial post to Deuba after holding the local polls.
Deuba and his close aides fear whether PM Dahal and Madhesi parties had agreed to not hold the polls in one pretext or the other.
CPN-UML chair recently claimed that the government was unwilling to hold local polls in May.
The leaders of the Madhesi front have been opposing the idea of holding polls without finalizing the re-demarcation of the provincial borders.
During a meeting with Prime Minister Dahal and NC chief Deuba on Monday, the Madhesi leaders threatened to launch another round of protest if the election dates were announced without making amendment to the constitution.
According to news reports, Mahantha Thakur told Dahal that they would disrupt the local polls at any cost.
The meeting of Monday turned so tense that Upendra Yadav told the ruling parties that there was no need of holding another round of meeting.
While the Madhes-based parties are threatening to disrupt the polls, the ruling parties are divided as to whether they hold polls for old structures or the new. NC wants the local polls for the old local units while the PM wants them according to the recommendation of the Local Body Restructuring Commission. However, a cabinet meeting this week refused to endorse the LBRC report and decided to return it to the LBRC for revision. But an LBRC member claimed that revising the report without implementing it will be unconstitutional.
The UML has been claiming that the old structures became invalid from the day the government received the LBRC’s report. If the ruling parties and LBRC divide over the recommendation of the latter, the local polls will become uncertain even by January 2018.
Although the Legislature-Parliament has been busy drafting and endorsing the laws required for holding the polls, the ruling parties seem to have lacked guts to announce the election dates as they fear India might not recognise the polls if the Madhes-based parties boycott it. These all circumstances show that the local elections may be impossible in May and even June. The federal parliament cannot be constituted without holding local election as a few members of the upper house of the bicameral federal parliament need to be elected by electoral college consisting the chairmen and deputy chairmen of the local bodies.