KATHMANDU, Aug 31: As Province 2 election is approaching near, the contesting political parties have geared up their election campaign. The government on Wednesday announced that the election of House of Representatives and Province assembly will be held simultaneously in two stages. Meanwhile, the Constituency Delimitation Commission has also submitted its report to the government; and the Election Commission is also expediting its preparation even though the government is yet to ready the laws related to provincial and federal election. Focusing on these matters, here is an interview between journalist Rishi Dhamal and CPN-UML leader Rajendra Pandey:
Why is UML dissatisfied with the government’s decision to conduct both elections simultaneously in two stages?
The government decided to conduct the election of Federal Parliament and Province Assembly in two stages without consultation with the main opposition party UML. We have analyzed this move as government’s weakness.
Hasn’t UML always argued that election should be conducted within the given time frame?
Yes. UML has been frequently pressurizing the government to hold both elections before the deadline (January 21, 2018). We want election.
What is UML’s view about the Constitution Delimitation Commission report?
I haven’t got a chance to properly study the Commission’s report. In my knowledge, even a member of the commission, Bishwokalyan Parajuli, is not happy with the report. This report has delineated the electoral constituencies largely basing on population, not geography. UML is not happy about this.
Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) tried to obstruct UML’s function in Janakpur. Hasn’t it made UML’s way difficult for contesting for the province 2 local elections?
No, it hasn’t. RJPN’s top leaders encouraged its cadres and people for the violence. Today they have attacked our party cadres and people who were functioning in Terai. But they (RJPN leaders) shouldn’t forget that they are residing in the capital. If they keep on following a path of political violence, we will not tolerate it. We will be compelled to retaliate here in the capital- which will not be good.
Why didn’t UML cooperate in constitution amendment?
Constitution amendment is not today’s national need. Let’s implement the constitution first, then, it will be amended if needed. The government brought the proposal with an aim to defame the UML. The proposal was forwarded to circulate the message that UML was the major reason behind amendment failure. In fact, the constitution has already ensured the rights and privilege of Madhesi people. I don’t see any need to give recognition to Hindi language in Nepal’s constitution- a language that is spoken nowhere in Nepal.
Which parties will the UML form alliance with to contest in the Province 2 election?
Any parties except Nepali Congress will do. The Nepali Congress is spending a huge amount of money in their campaigns targeting to finish UML in Madhes.
Is use of money possible while the election code of conduct is in effect?
The election bodies and their office bearers are helpless. The Election Commission seems powerless in front of the ruling parties. Bimalendra Nidhi, in front of Prime Minister, publicly said, “Money will be brought in sacks, and will be used to draw UML away from Madhes. We will finish UML.” But UML is not a party who surrenders and can be finished. We have people’s support in Madhes.