Madhes-based parties and groups opposed to the new constitution of Nepal will hold protests across the country from Tuesday targeting local elections scheduled for May 14.
The Federal Alliance (Sanghiya Gathabandhan), an alliance of Madhesi and indigenous parties, made it clear on Sunday they would not take part in the elections if the government does not amend the statute, addressing their various demands.
Nepal is on the verge of deciding whether to hold or postpone the elections. The alliance’s move further complicated the possibility of the three-tier polls--local, provincial and central-- taking place in the next 10 months.
The government had tabled in Parliament a new amendment aimed at addressing the grievances of the agitating parties, but they rejected it.
Other political parties are divided as to whether to take on board the Madhesi parties for the polls or to go ahead without them. The main opposition CPN-UML is vehemently opposed to bringing them on board if they do not agree to join.
Two ruling parties, Nepali Congress and CPN(Maoist Center) are opting a middle path, saying that Madhesi participation in elections is a must and they should be included.
The federal alliance and Madhes-based parties have been demanding changes in various provisions of the constitution, such as citizenship, language, proportional representation of various marginalised communities in various state entities and change in federal boundaries.
At a press conference on Sunday, the alliance said it will continue the protests all the way up to the May 14 election.
The alliance called an indefinite general strike across the country from May 10, and will organise a torch rally, mass assemblies and demonstrations in the days up to the general strike.
A statement issued by the alliance said its protest was to ensure the rights of the people and safeguard democracy.
The Madhesi Morcha and Federal Alliance leaders reiterated their position of going for polls only after amending the constitution to address the demands of the Madhesis, indigenous people, the Tharus, Muslims, Dalits and other marginalised communities.
“We are forced to go for agitation in order to protect the achievements of the past including federalism, national identity, democracy, republic and proportional representation and inclusion," said Upendra Yadav, the coordinator of the alliance.
Yadav also said elections to the federal parliament and the provincial assembly should be held first after addressing the issues of restructuring.
And the local-level elections should be held under the provincial government.
The Morcha and Alliance will join hands to organise processions, mass meetings and nationwide shutdown in the run-up to the local elections.