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Terai issue not a hurdle for Nepal election?

world Updated: Jan 17, 2008 22:00 IST
Anirban Roy
Anirban Roy
Hindustan Times
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It is an uphill battle to convince people in Nepal that elections for a Constituent Assembly will be held as per schedule on April 10 as the ruling Seven Party Alliance (SPA) has found.



Many people believe that the ruling political alliance would try to postpone the election yet again as their electoral prospect have been predicted to be "poor" in the 23 districts of the Terai.



Nepal's General Administration Minister Ram Chandra Yadav claimed on Thursday that the Terai issue would not create any obstruction in the holding of the election as the security situation there had improved to a great extent. Yadav said at Biratnagar that people in the Terai were not against elections; but the violence unleashed by the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) had raised fresh doubts about the election.



So far, all the members of the SPA had been claiming that the law and order situation in Terai was not favourable for election. Meanwhile, the demand for an autonomous state is all set to snowball into a bigger issue. The political forces are reportedly in the process of joining hands with the underground outfits to reinforce their campaign.



It has been reported in the vernacular media that leaders of Sadbhawana Party and Madhesh Janadhikar Forum (MJF) had a series of meetings with Jaya Krishna Goit, the chief of JTMM, and are now likely to work in tandem.



As the separatist JTMM is opposed to holding of elections in the Terai, the mainstream political forces joining hands with the underground outfit on the election issue may disturb peace in the southern slopes of Nepal (bordering Bihar and Uttar Pradesh).



"People will not take part in the election," MJF chief Upendra Yadav told

Hindustan Times

on Thursday, adding that they were all set to launch a massive campaign in Terai from next week.



The MJF leader claimed that they would be forced to launch a fresh agitation, as the government had not responded to their demand for an autonomous state in the Terai. Yadav had earlier claimed that they would be forced to recede if their demand for an autonomous state was not addressed.