Activist C K Raut, who has been campaigning for an independent Madhes encompassing Nepal’s 20 districts, has asked the Rastriya Janata Party (RJP) to encourage its supporters to vote in a way that their votes becomes invalid. The statement comes as Madhes-based RJP appears determined to boycott the second round of local elections on June 28. It has been interpreted as the rejection of the Nepal’s constitution, which the region’s people allege denies them equal rights.
Raut has written to RJP chief Mahanth Thakur saying that the second round of the elections “must be used as an opportunity to give a moral blow to the constitution’’. He called boycott of the polls “suicidal” as low polling will be taken as “endorsement of the constitution’’. Raut, who is known for his speeches and intemperate language against Nepal, warned RJP against violence to stall the elections. He has asked the party to instead mobilise over 50 per cent electorate for invalid voting.
Raut’s appeal for the peaceful protest comes amid RJP’s violent resistance to the election process in parts of the country to reiterate its demand for constitutional amendment to address Madhes grievances before June 28.
The RJP forced representatives of the Election Commission on duty in Siraha district to sit on a dharna for an hour in support of their demands.
Its supporters vandalised offices of Madhesi Forum, a rival political outfit participating in the elections, in other parts of Nepal including Janakpur.
RJP leaders have told the Nepali Congress and Maoist Party coalition government that the elections must be postponed if the constitutional amendment is not possible immediately.