Madhesi parties to boycott Nepal's local polls

Indo Asian News Service

Kathmandu, April 12 (IANS) Dismissing as 'even more regressive than the previous' the government's new Constitution amendment proposal -- introduced in Parliament on Tuesday, the United Democratic Madhesi Front on Wednesday decided to boycott the May 14 local-level polls in Nepal.

Top leaders of the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) -- representing the Madhesi ethnic groups who have long complained of being marginalised at the ballot box -- were present at the meeting here which took the decision in this regard.

The meeting -- convened at the Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party office in Bijulibazar, Kathmandu -- was called to discuss the Constitution amendment bill that the government got registered at the Parliament Secretariat on Tuesday, the Kathmandu Post reported.

After discussion, the Front said the bill did not sufficiently address their demands and they would not take part in the local polls unless their demands were met.

The leaders claimed that the new proposal has not addressed their key demand -- revision of provincial boundaries -- and no provisions pertaining to citizenship, National Assembly and language have been changed in the old proposal.

Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party Deputy General Secretary Surendra Jha refuted the government claim that the new amendment proposal had been brought after taking the Madhesi Morcha into confidence.

He further said that the contents of the proposal were different from what was agreed during the joint task-force meeting of the ruling parties and Morcha leaders.

Meanwhile, the bloc also decided to hold torch rallies in the headquarter towns of the Terai region districts on Thursday, with the demand that their concerns be addressed.

Likewise, the parties would picket election offices in the districts on Sunday in a symbolic protest against the local-level elections scheduled for May 14.

The local elections will pave the way for provincial and national elections, which need to be held by January 2018 according to the country's new Constitution -- promulgated on September 20, 2015.