Immature Step Of RJP
The motive of Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) to disrupt the nomination filing process in three provinces where the local polls have been scheduled for June 28 has clearly bitten the dust as the candidacy filing in the three provinces went off peacefully. According to the Election Commission, the candidates filed their nomination for the local polls had taken place peacefully, barring some negligible incidents of skirmishes between the supporters of the rival political parties. A report says that over 60,000 candidates have filed their candidacy for the second phase of the local polls to be held in 334 local units in 35 districts of the provinces 1, 5 and 7 where about 6.4 million voters would give their mandate to elect 15038 local representatives.
Contrary to the belief that the general strike called by the RJP in the three provinces on the day of nomination filing would totally send the nomination filing process haywire, the candidates of various parties vying for mayoral, deputy mayoral, ward chair and war members positions visited in hordes to the offices of chief election returning officers throughout the three provinces and registered their nomination for the electoral candidates in a peaceful manner.
To make the matter worse for the agitating RJP, there are reports suggesting that the several members of the RJP also filed their nominations as candidates for the second phase local polls, which the RJP has not only boycotted but has aimed to foil the polls. The Madhesh-based RJP not only failed to stop the rival party cadres from visiting the offices of the returning officers to file their nominations, but also could not stop their own party colleagues in filing the nominations at several places. There are suggestions that many RJP leaders had encouraged their members to file nominations as independent candidates. The encouraging number of nomination as well as the filing of nomination by the RJP members is an indication that the RJP leaders who had tried to disrupting the polls by creating disturbances during the nomination, electioneering and polling days have abjectly failed in their objectives.
Owing to the demand of the RJP, the government had postponed the local election in the Province No. 2. The initial report suggested that the RJP leaders had promised the government that they would take part in the second phase of election if the government deferred the election in the Province No. 2. After the government declared the postponement, the RJP reportedly did a turn-around and declined to participate in the election in the three provinces. Rather, they wanted the government to postpone the election all three provinces too. The prime minister and his coalition government that was tired of addressing the agitating RJP's series of demands, finally turned down the demand of postponing the election in the provinces 1, 5 and 7.
The government's denial to postpone the second phase of polls in three provinces has so irked the Madhesi parties that they went to call general strikes in the three provinces. Though their call of general strikes caused some difficulties for the people, the candidates of the several political parties vying for a place in the local units did not feel the heat of the general strikes. It has certainly given a lesson to the agitating RJP. No party, it seems, has cared the threat of the Nepal bandh on the day of candidacy filing.
After having failed to disrupt the nomination filing process, the RJP will next target the polling on June 28, the day they had also called general strike with a sole aim to disturb the voting process in the three provinces. But, given the level of people's excitement towards the local polls, it has now appeared that the people would visit the polling booths to cast their votes to the candidates of their choice by undermining the Nepal bandh. The government is in all likelihood to beef up the security on the day to quell any threat of disturbances during the polling day. It is likely that the RJP's disruptive tactic would not cause the stoppage of voting process in all places. Also, the Election Commission would announce the re-polling at the places where the disturbances would obstruct the people in casting their votes. The RJP's disruptive tactics have so far clearly come a cropper. This shows that the RJP is going to be a biggest loser in the second phase of polls.
The RJP's has clearly committed mistake in boycotting the second round of the local polls despite reaching an agreement to participate in the local elections. Earlier, when the government postponed polls in four provinces and then deferred the polls in the province 2, it seemed that the RJP would join the election fray. They appeared to have accepted the government's declaration that their demand of amending constitution would be pushed forth once the second phase of polls would be over. However, the agitating RJP suddenly expressed their reservations to the government's deferral of polls in province 2 and decided to move on with their agitation in other provinces. They said that they wanted the government to first amend the constitution before they would participate in the polls. The government, who had constantly been under pressure from the RJP, said enough is enough and moved ahead with its decision to hold election in the three provinces in June 28.
The boycott of the local poll, on the other hand, would serve the RJP badly as the party would fail to send its proper number of representatives to many of the local units of the three provinces. Instead, the candidates of other parties would make merry in the absence of the RJP candidates. There were RJP members in many of these local units who would have won the local polls quite easily had they been given a chance to contest. But the boycott of the polls has robbed them the chance to file their nominations and then get elected. The boycott of the polls and then the opting of the disruptive tactic with the objective of halting of the polls through the use of force will certainly prove a costly affair for the Madhesh-centric party. Though the leaders of the RJP have been saying that the polls would lose meaning without the participation of their party, once the polls are held and results are out, the RJP will clearly on the losing side. To boycott the local polls that are being held after a gap of two decades, is an immature decision of the RJP leaders.