Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal leaders told Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other leaders of the ruling parties that they would not participate in the second phase of local polls unless their key demands were met.
The RJP-N has, among other things, demanded that the constitution amendment bill be passed and the number of local levels be increased in the Madhes in proportion to the population of the region.
According to RJP-N Presidium member Anil Kumar Jha, the PM urged RJP-N leaders to take part in the second phase of local polls, saying amendment to the constitution was not possible before the second phase of local polls.
Deuba also told them it would be difficult to grant the party a new symbol and hence the RJP-N should use an election symbol used by one of the six parties that merged to create a unified RJP-N.
“We told the PM that election symbol was also an issue, but first we wanted the constitution amended and the number of local levels increased in the Madhes in proportion to the population of the region,” he added.
Jha also said when the ruling parties told RJP-N leaders that there was not much time left to address their concerns as the second phase polls were around the corner, the RJP-N leaders asked the ruling parties’ leaders to defer the poll date. “It was only when the ruling parties told us that addressing our concerns was not possible due to lack of time that we told them to defer the poll date. The prime minister told us that the date for second phase of local polls could not be changed,” Jha said, adding that if the government did not have enough time to address the concerns of the RJP-N, then the RJP-N could not be blamed. “It was not us that created this situation. It was because the ruling parties’ leaders wanted to become prime minister and they could not do enough to address our concerns,” Jha added.