JAN 20, 2012 KATHMANDU – Political instability, development works are hindered, absent of government and political body in the villages are made people to worry for their future and turning their faith into aggression in the recent years in Nepal. In view of above, A parliamentary committee on Thursday asked the government to make preparations for holding elections in local bodies that are running on an ad hoc basis since 2002 in the absence of elected representatives.
The direction of the Development Committee comes in the wake of the dissolution of an all-party mechanism that was formed to mobilize resources and budget allocated for the local bodies. The Ministry of Local Development had scrapped the mechanism earlier this month, saying that the non-elected set-up promoted corruption.
The committee unanimously suggested the government that it would be best to conduct the elections after the May 28 deadline of the Constituent Assembly (CA). During two-hour-long deliberations held in the presence of Minister for Local Administration Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, lawmakers said the government should give top priority to hold the elections.
Though not legally binding on the government, the panel’s direction will pile pressure on the government to begin the process for the polls that were last held in 1997.
“The government should start preparations right away by keeping in mind that the local elections should not disturb the peace process and constitution making,” said committee Chairman Jitendra Sonal. “The fresh elections will generate a ray of hope among the people and we are ready to wait for the next few months for that,” he added.
Rayamajhi told the committee that he had initially stepped up preparations to arrange for elected representatives in the local bodies within the May 28 CA deadline. “I backtracked after holding consultations with top leaders of the major parties. Senior leaders are worried that immediate elections could hamper the constitution making process,” he said.
Rayamajhi urged lawmakers to push the poll agenda in their parties and said November could be the best time for the polls. He further said preparations are on to form new mechanisms for the local bodies until the elections.
The committee also instructed the government to form interim bodies comprising political parties at the local level to operate the local bodies until the elections. It is learnt that the Ministry of Local Administration has prepared a proposal calling for appointment in local bodies on the basis of popular votes received by the parties in the CA elections.
During Thursday’s discussions, non-Maoist lawmakers said the government should immediately go for local elections, while Maoist lawmakers supported elections after the promulgation of the constitution. “All the parties are willing to conduct the elections. We can hold the polls within the next four to six months,” said UML lawmaker Yam Lal Kandel.
Maoist lawmaker Krishna Chaudhary said the polls can be held only after the local bodies are defined by the new constitution. He said elections to the federal legislature must be held first.
Lawmakers admitted that there were lapses while running the all-party mechanism, but said the ‘corrupt’ bureaucracy and local administrations are also to blame.