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'Nepal poll schedule will not be changed'

Nepal Prime Minister GP Koirala has ruled out rescheduling of the April Constituent Assembly polls amid fears that it could be marred by violence.

world Updated: Feb 20, 2008 17:16 IST

Nepal Prime Minister GP Koirala has ruled out rescheduling of the April Constituent Assembly polls amid fears that it could be marred by violence with no sign of end to the deadlock between the government and the pro-Madhesi ethnic regional parties demanding more rights for the community living in the Terai plains bordering India.



Prime Minister Koirala said that the poll schedule fixed by the Nepal Election Commission will not be changed, though he would be taking fresh initiatives to hold talks with the agitating Madhesi parties based in the southern plains.



Koirala's latest assertion comes amid reports that the interim government may urge the election panel to postpone the deadline for filing closed-list of candidates to reach out to the pro-Madhesi parties who have been protesting in the Terai plains with strikes and shutdown over the last one week.



Today is the deadline for political parties to submit candidates' lists for the elections, and Mahadhesi leaders have threatened to boycott the polls unless their demands are met.



Nepal Samacharpatra had earlier reported that the government was thinking of requesting the Commission to postpone by five days the deadline for submitting the closed-list of candidates to be elected under proportional representation system.



Koirala told Speaker Subas Nemwang on Tuesday that the schedule and election timetable will be not be changed, nepalnews online reported on Wednesday.



Nemwang, however, said that the Prime Minister informed him that he would be taking fresh initiatives to hold talks with agitating Madhesi parties.



The Speaker also advised the Prime Minister to hold talks with the agitating indigenous ethnic Limbuwan and Khumbuwan groups, who have been protesting in many parts of the Himalayan state for more economic and political rights. He also urged Koirala to resolve the fuel crisis at the earliest, the report said.