By Our Reporter
Although only 38 days are left to hold the local elections, it is still uncertain whether the local election will be organised on the scheduled date of May 14.
When the Madhes-based parties are still threatening to boycott and disrupt the local polls, the Naya Shakti of Dr Baburam Bhattarai and other fringe parties have launched a protest against the Election Commission for not granting them election symbol of a political party.
As the EC decided to grant the election symbols to only the parties, which are represented in the parliament, the decision irked the new parties like Naya Shakti and small parties which failed to make to the CA in the 2013 election.
Although the EC took the decision according to election law, Dr Bhattarai is now leading a protest against the EC decision. This protest is also likely to affect the local elections. According to existing law, the Naya Shakti and other parties have to contest the local polls as independent candidate having different election symbols, not a single party symbol. Now the law cannot be amended due to time constraints, and the EC has already printed ballot papers of several districts.
If the Naya Shakti, which is preparing to unify the party with Upendra Yadav-led Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum, joins the Madhes-based parties’ camp protesting the polls, holding polls will be more challenging.
Even the leaders of the two main ruling parties are expressing conflicting views about the local elections. While Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been trying to bring the Madhes-based parties on board the elections, NC president She Bahadur Deuba has claimed that the elections should be held even if the Madhes-based parties opposed it.
Although Prime Minister Dahal and NC boss Deuba are not confident about the elections, the people look enthusiastic about the polls. The Maoist Centre has already announced the names of the candidates of mayors and deputy mayors in many municipalities.
Even the Madhes-based parties have reportedly spearheaded election centric activities in the Tarai although they have padlocked the local level offices. Upendra Yadav’s party is reportedly conducting election-centric activities although Yadav has demanded that the EC should include the names of the voters, which were not registered earlier.
However, the media are playing an important role to create pro-election environment. A section of analysts have claimed that the media were receiving funds from the westerners to create a situation in which the EC and the government can hold polls even if the Madhes-based parties boycott them. Even if the Madhes-based parties boycott it, elections will be possible in many areas of Tarai even in province-2, because the people fed up with the absence of elected representatives for years, are eager to elect their representatives.
Interestingly, the demands put forth by the Madhes-based parties are against the idea of empowering people. One of their demands, which was also accepted by the ruling NC and Maoist Centre, is that the chiefs and deputy chiefs of municipalities and Gaunpalikas should not be included the electoral college to elect the members of theUpper House of Parliament.
Above all, India is against the idea of holding local polls. Clearly, India has feared the defeat of its friends—the Madhes-based parties, Maoist-Centre, Naya Shakti and even NC in the local polls. Instead, India wants the government should hold the election of federal parliament first.
These factors have made the fate of local polls of May 14 still uncertain.
However, the EC has made all preparations to hold the polls. It has already printed the ballot papers while the printing of voters’ ID card is now in the progress.
The EC also designated the Election Officers for all 75 districts and 719 local level units by publishing their names in the Gorkhapatra on Tuesday.