Constitution Amendment Only After Local Election
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has said that holding the second phase of local polls and making the constitution acceptable to all were the two immediate plans of the government. Speaking at the Legislature Parliament the other day Prime Minister Deuba reiterated his commitment to amend the constitution, but only after holding the second phase of elections. At a time when the leaders of the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, the newly formed political party of the erstwhile six Madhes-based parties excluding the Upendra Yadav-led Federal Alliance, are threatening to boycott and disrupt the second-phase polls scheduled for June 28, Prime Minister Deuba has pledged to commence the constitution amendment process after the completion of the local level election. The Prime Minister also made it clear that there was no situation in the past to endorse the amendment bill and urged the Madesh-based parties to take part in the second phase local election. Now that the Prime Minister has pledged to meet the main demand of the Madhes-based parties, the RJP-N should join the election fray and cooperate with the government to make the voting a success. The government has already amended the Local Level Election Act as demanded by the Madhes-based forces and the Election Commission; the amendment to the Act has granted three days’ time to the political parties to submit the authentic signatures of their leaders to the EC.
When the Prime Minister has reiterated his commitment to make amendment to the constitution, and the EC has allowed the political parties to submit their leaders’ signatures, the RJP-N should reciprocate to the government by participating in the local polls. It is noteworthy to mention here that the government has already rescheduled the election dates twice as asked by the Madhes-based forces. In the beginning the government had decided to hold the local polls at one go on May 14, but later it decided to hold it in two phases only to bring the Madhes-based parties on board. Again the date of the second phase poll was rescheduled for June 23 and then for June 28. But the Madhes-based parties have not reciprocated to the flexibilities shown by the government. Instead, they have been putting one demand after another asking to defer the election date. Indeed, what the Madhesi forces united under RJP-N are doing now goes against the public aspirations for the election. Not only the overwhelming participation of the people in the first phase of local polls but also the claims made by Upendra Yadav, the leader of Federal Alliance, the key constituent of the Madhes-based parties before the formation of RJP-N, that the people in Madhes are eagerly waiting to cast their ballot in the election show public enthusiasm towards the polls. The harsh criticism of Upendra Yadav by some RJP-N leaders for the former’s decision to participate in the local polls has raised a question whether the RJP-N leaders are making their anti-election voice stronger in the recent days because they were angry with Yadav’s decision to participate in the election, not with the government. Obviously, the political parties which go against the public aspiration cannot survive. There are several evidences to prove this fact. As such, the RJP-N should realise this bitter truth and use the election even to ensure their lasting existence in national politics. When the government has reiterated to amend the constitution, there is no point to shun or disrupt the election.
Kamini Rajbhandari is managing director of Nepal Telecom (NT), the state-owned telecommunication service provider of Nepal. Rajbhandari has been leading...