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Local election or confrontation?

By Our Reporter
With the announcement of date of the local election, the politics of the nation has been polarized in the two opposite directions with the ruling parties and the main opposition, the CPN-UML intensifying their election-oriented activities and the Madhes-based parties threatening to disrupt the elections.
The Madhes-based parties as well as Naya Shakti Party of the former Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai have claimed that holding local elections before endorsing the amendment proposal by the parliament will be impossible.
Upendra Yadav, chairman of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum Nepal, and Dr Bhattarai of the NSP have claimed that local elections will be impossible without addressing the demands of the Madhes-based parties by endorsing the amendment bill.
It is rumoured that Yadav and Dr Bhattarai are working to unify their parties and they want to buy time to expand their organisation, for which the local elections scheduled to be held on May 14 should be postponed. This must be a reason why Dr Bhattarai and Yadav are ahead of other leaders in opposing the announcement of the poll date.  However, leaders of other Madhesi parties have also opposed the announcement of the poll dates but not as strongly as by Dr Bhattarai and Yadav.
However, ruling NC and the main opposition party have already joined the election fray. NC leader and Deputy Prime Minister Bimalendra Nidhi on Monday addressed a progarmme organised to initiate the election programme in Siraha.
In his first election address, Nidhi spent more time in criticising the UML and urging people to sweep the UML from ‘Madhes’ not giving it any vote. Views expressed by NC leader and Deputy PM cum Home Minister Nidhi  against UML were not different from the views of the leaders of the Madhes-based parties.
The main opposition is launching Mechi-Mahakali campaign focusing on the election from coming Saturday. The volunteers, supporters and leaders of the UML are planning to pass through the towns of Terai during their two-week Mechi-Mahakali campaign.
The Madhes-based parties clearly sent a message that they would disrupt the UML’s campaign by trying to disrupt a programme of UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal in Rautahat Saturday. However, the UML instructed its volunteers to retaliate against any obstruction created by the cadres of the Madhes-based parties.  If the Madhes-based parties try to obstruct the UML campaign and if the UML cadres retaliate against the obstruction, violent will erupt in many places which can even spoil the election environment.
Going by the expressions of Upendra Yadav and other leaders of the Madhes-based parties, they may use the UML’s Mechi-Mahakali Campaign as the best weapon to foil the local elections. Moreover, the government may not be serious to provide security to the UML volunteers and cadres of the campaign because Home Minister himself instructed the NC carders to chase the UML from Madhes.
Interestingly, when Home Minister Nidhi and leaders of Madhes-based parties have been expressing venom against UML, there have been news reports about many cadres of both NC and Madhesi parties joining the UML in the Terai.
Considering the growing enmity between the Madhes-based parties and the UML, one cannot deny that the cadres of the Madhes-based parties target the UML leaders and activists during the campaign. As such the government as well as the UML should be serious about avoiding unwanted situation during the campaign.
If the UML campaign concludes successfully, it will help create not only election-friendly environment in Terai but also make the UML popular in Madhes.
Anyway, the people in Madhes also want the election. Only the leaders who fear defeat of their parties are against it.
Therefore, if the government mobilises security agencies to maintain law and order without using unwanted force, election may be possible. This must be a reason why chairman of Majdoor Kisan Party Narayan Man Bijukchhe said on Monday that the local polls should be organised even by mobilising the Nepal Army.
If the government as well as the political parties, which favour elections, act cautiously without resorting to any activity that may invite violence, local elections will be possible. But a minor error can cause confrontation between the forces wanting and opposing the election thereby making the elections impossible on May 14.

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