Welcome to Sajha Sawal. I am Bidhya Chapagain. Leaders are making speeches about holding local and legislative elections within a year to implement the constitution. But so far, the demands of Madhes-based parties have not been resolved. Also the election dates have not been announced. In this debate, we have General Secretary of Nepali Congress, Dr. Shashank Koirala. …and Vice Chairperson of Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party, Hridyesh Tripathi. We’re in Nawalparasi. When will elections be held? Will this government conduct it or the next? At which levels will the elections be held? I don’t see the possibility of an election without the consensus of the Madhesi Front. We need to find a way after consulting them. The country will slip into darkness if the constitution is annulled. Have you decided which election will be held first? In my opinion, first, the local level election should be held. Then elections at the central level should be held. Will there be elections for restructured local levels according to the new constitution? Or will the elections be for the existing VDCs and municipalities according to the old constitution? There are difficulties in holding election of the restructured local levels because of potential disputes. So, in my view there should be an election for the existing local level structure. Is it possible to hold elections, while postponing the amendment of the constitution and issue of federalism? If it is possible, what does the Madhesi Front want? We will not agree on holding elections while postponing those issues, as Dr. Shashank is suggesting. Putting changes on hold and favouring regression is something we will not accept, no matter who suggests it. The question is, if we hold the local election in the current set-up, does it mean the constitution is implemented ? There is no growth in the local bodies bodies, as envisioned by the constitution. The constitution drafted by them has so many contradictions and complexities, that we cannot implement it without amendment. If we hold election in terms of prevailing laws, we cannot guarantee the rights of diverse caste, religion and ethnic groups. Is holding election according to old laws just a trick to prevent amendment of the constitution? That is my question. If we hold election under new structure there might be hostility and disputes. Does it mean everyone will be satisfied if we hold election according to the old structures? There are greater possibilities to resolve disputes that way. Does that indicate that there is greater consensus to not implement the constitution? After election, we will implement the constitution. Is he right, Mr Hridyesh? Firstly, the report on the local level restructuring commission is incomplete. The constitution has given the responsibility of identifying the protected, specialised and autonomous regions to this commission. But it has not even entered into that process yet. After demarcating the geography of our country into VDC level, local units and municipalities… …which areas should be named as protected, specialised and autonomous? The role of the commission itself is disputed. That is why we have not accepted it. Whenever Dr.Shasankh Koirala comes here, he talks about the greatness of Hinduism. Will you call Nepal a Hindu nation in your upcoming election manifesto? Our party is socialist party and we should not do politics on the basis of religion and caste. Period. I have been raising the issue of religion because wherever I go, almost 85% of the population is Hindu and people say they want a Hindu nation. But this should be decided by a referendum. It will be decided by the people. He also said this publicly at temples. There is a great deal on religion in this constitution. People can find whatever they are looking for. They are artists and they have crafted the constitution very cleverly. There is Hinduism as well as secularism. If they have made such a creative constitution, why is it unacceptable to you all? You think this constitution is for all, but I think both sides are unsatisfied. The ones favouring secularism are unhappy and so are those favouring Hinduism. You are doing politics on behalf of Madhesi people. But why are you conservative when it comes to women? Women in Madhesh are still deprived of education and are least involved in socio-political and economic front. Why do you not raise and address this issue? We admit that dogmatic beliefs are strong in the Madhesi community. There were practices like the purdah system as well as child marriage. If you look at it, there are very sad and sickening realities in our community. Madheshi women never participated in meeting before, but they have started doing that nowadays. Education has started changing that. I would like to conclude today’s episode of Sajha Sawa from Nawalparasi. I thank all my participants and guests here. Thank You !