The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (Maoist Center) have assured Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) of amending the constitution by mid-July to address the demands of the agitating party.
After RJPN threatened to boycott the September 18 local polls if the government failed to address its grievances, including amendment of the constitution, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and leaders of the ruling parties invited the agitating party leaders for talks on Friday.
RJPN leaders reached the official residence of the prime minister for talks, a week after threatening to withdraw support from the Deuba-led government, Prime Minister Deuba had said in parliament last month that the amendment bill would be endorsed immediately after the June 28 local polls.
The amendment bill had been put on hold after the government failed to garner a two-thirds majority in its favor. The former government led by Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had registered the bill in a bid to address the demands of Madhesi-based political parties, including RJPN.
The government has proposed forming a federal commission to suggest provincial boundaries and removing the chairpersons and vice chairpersons of rural municipalities and mayors and deputy mayors of municipalities from the electoral college for the National Assembly, proposing to include only members of provincial assemblies. The bill was registered in parliament on April 11.
According to Mahato, RJPN leaders have demanded endorsement of the amendment bill, increase in the number of local units in the southern plains, withdrawal of cases filed against their party cadres, and compensation for those injured during the Madhesi movement.
According to the leaders, Prime Minister Deuba and Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal requested RJPN leaders to take part in the September 18 local polls in Province 2.
In response, RJPN leaders said only constitutional amendment and increase in the local units in Province 2 would open the way for their taking part in the election.
CPN (Maoist Center) leader Matrika Yadav said that the ruling parties will also talk to the main opposition CPN-UML for its support in endorsing the amendment bill. Constitutional amendment is almost impossible without support from the second largest party in parliament.