Madhesis announce boycott of Nepal local polls

Asserting that all doors for meaningful talks with the government have shut, the Madhes-based parties in Nepal on Sunday announced boycott of the local polls slated for June 28 and vowed to disrupt their conduct.

An alliance of Madhes-based parties, which are united under the banner of the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, on Sunday announced fresh programmes of protest, including a general strike. They said they will not take part in the upcoming second phase of local level elections slated for June 28 and announced a nationwide general strike from June 24 aiming to disrupt the polling.

With this, two clear-cut lines have emerged in the Terai-based turmoil roiling politics in Nepal’s southern region.

One section of Madhes-based parties, led by Upendra Yadav — chief of the Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum, Nepal — and Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar — Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum leader and Deputy Premier in the present coalition government — have already decided to go for elections while another political grouping, led by Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party chief Mahantha Thakur, has rejected participation in the polls.

“This election is going to be an illegitimate one,” said Thakur while announcing the agitation programme aimed at disrupting the local elections after repeated attempts to forge consensus with the government failed.

A meeting held under Mahantha Thakur’s chairmanship announced the fresh anti-election protest programmes after efforts to reach consensus with the government failed.

Earlier on Sunday, the ruling parties — Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre) — held a meeting with the RJP-N at Singha Durbar that ended inconclusively leading to the latter’s decision to launch afresh their agitation aimed at securing amendment to the 2015 constitution.

The ruling alliance called it unfortunate and urged the RJP-N not to resort to protest and disturb the election process.

The party has announced general strikes in the Madhes, Tharuhat and Limbuwan regions for four days focusing on the nomination day from June 13-16, and indefinite general strike throughout the nation from June 24.

Organising a press meet, alliance coordinator Mahantha Thakur claimed that the coalition was forced to take to agitation after the government failed to fulfil their concerns.

“Since the dialogues also failed to yield any positive results, we have decided to begin struggle from Monday,” Thakur said.

According to Thakur, the government failed to fulfil commitments, including declaring those who died during Madhes and Tharuhat movements as ‘martyrs’, withdrawing false cases, releasing those languishing in prisons and releasing compensation for those injured.

“The Cabinet had taken initiative to fulfil some demands but they were not implemented yet,” he said, adding that the government also failed to endorse the amendment proposal registered in Parliament besides increasing the local levels in the plains on the basis of population.

As per the agitation schedule, the protest would begin from Monday with torch rallies in different parts of the country, including district headquarters.

The RJP-N has threatened to padlock all election offices throughout the local levels of four provinces on June 16 on the nomination day and other sporadic rallies in districts across the Terai region.

On June 19, rallies with people carrying staves would be organised at all the district headquarters of four provinces and from June 20-28, the coalition of Madhesi and Janajati forces would disrupt all election-related activities