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Nepal defers local body polls in Madhesi-stronghold province till September

Kathmandu: The Nepal government Thursday postponed the date of local-level elections in the disputed Madhesi-stronghold province number two by nearly three months, adding a third phase in the polls.

With the move, which came following a Cabinet meeting, the polls will now be held in three phases of which the first phase was concluded in provinces 3, 4 and 6 on 14 May.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The second phase in Province 1, 5 and 7 will be held on 28 June and the third phase in Province 2 on 18 September.

The local-level elections are being taken place across Nepal after a gap of 20 years. They should be held in every five years but due to political instability, they were halted since May 1997.

The government and the agitating Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJP-N), agreed on the postponement of the elections in Province number 2 following a joint meeting held on Thursday.

According to Nepali Congress sources, an agreement to defer the polls was reached during a meeting between the two sides at the prime minister's office at Singhdurbar.

"The talks with the ruling party leaders today were positive," said senior Madhesi leader Mahendra Yadav.

Bara, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Parsa, Rautahat, Saptari, Sarlahi and Siraha are the eight districts under Province two, where the agitating Madhesi party, RJPN has a stronghold.

The RJP-N leader said they would make a decision on whether to participate in the 28 June polls after holding an internal meeting of the party.

However, the RJP-N had threatened to disrupt the polls if their demand relating to the amendment to the Constitution was not addressed before the 28 June polls.

The Nepal government has tabled a new Constitution amendment bill in Parliament to address the demands of the agitating Madhesi parties ahead of the local elections.

Madhesis, mostly of Indian-origin, launched a prolonged agitation between September 2015 and February last year against the implementation of the new Constitution which they felt marginalised the Terai community.

Updated Date: Jun 15, 2017 19:35 PM

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