A meeting between Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and a key Madhesi party over the current crisis today failed to yield any results as the minority party insisted on amending the Constitution before the local body polls on June 28. Deuba had invited leaders of the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJP-N) to his residence in Budhanilkantha, 10 kms from Kathmandu, for informal consultation on the current crisis, according to sources close to the Prime Minister. During the talks, the Prime Minister sought cooperation from the agitating Madhesi leaders for the smooth conduct of the second phase of elections. “The people of the southern plains also want local level elections for the development of the region and it would help implement the constitution,” the Prime Minister said.
Deuba also reiterated the government’s stance that once the second phase of elections are held the Constitution would be amended to address the key demands of the agitating parties. Madhesi leaders, however, told the Prime Minister that they will not take part in the second phase of elections until the Constitution is amended and urged government to fulfil their demands at the earliest. The government has decided to defer the local body polls in the Province 2, the disputed Madhesi-stronghold, to September 18.
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The RJP-N will hold rallies in all district headquarters of the Terai region as part of its pre-announced protest programmes to disrupt the elections process. Some Madhes-centric parties have opposed the elections until the Constitution is amended to accommodate their demands like more representation in parliament and redrawing of provincial boundaries. Madhesis, mostly of Indian-origin, launched a prolonged agitation between September 2015 and February last year against the implementation of the new Constitution.