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Question mark on elections again

world Updated: Feb 20, 2008 22:37 IST
Anirban Roy

Uncertainly once again looms on the constituent assembly elections of Nepal with the Rastriya Janashakti Party announcing a boycott.

Led by former Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa, the party said elections cannot be held till the Terai issue is resolved.

Normal life in 23 districts of Terai (bordering Bihar and Uttar Pradesh) continued to be crippled for the eighth consecutive day on Wednesday because of the indefinite general strike called by United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF). The cadres are protesting against the government’s lackadaisical attitude in resolving the demand for an autonomous state in Terai.

Curfew has been imposed in five districts, and armed police has been deployed in some of the violence-hit areas even as the situation remains tense in the entire Terai region.

Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued in Parsa, Bara, Janakpur and Nepalgunj. Meanwhile, agitators blocked Mahendra Highway, the east-west corridor in Nepal.

“It’s a war-like situation in all the Terai districts,” Sudhir Karna, an entrepreneur told Hindustan Times over telephone from Birgunj. Several people, including women and children have sustained bullet injuries in the past few days.

Accusing the government, the Federal Republican National Front (FRNF) has also announced that it would boycott the election. The front, which includes several regional and ethnic groups, lambasted Koirala for his failure to meet their demands.

The FRNF has also imposed an indefinite strike in the eastern region during the past week. Earlier, the Green Nepal Party had announced to boycott the election demanding a neutral government.