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Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari has urged the people to create an atmosphere conducive for conducting local polls which is a must for implementing the new Constitution. Nepal has entered into a federal democratic system by adopting the new Constitution, so the election is a must to implement the Constitution, Bhandari said while addressing a programme in Itahari district in eastern Nepal. The Constitution has guaranteed sufficient rights to the local bodies, so the country would move towards prosperity by maintaining peace and stability, the President said. Her statement comes at a time when Nepal's agitating Madhesi parties have decided to boycott next month's local elections and hold fresh protests, saying that the new Constitution amendment bill tabled by the government in Parliament has not addressed their key demand -- revision of provincial boundary. The United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), demanding more representation and re-demarcation of state boundaries, is opposing the local body elections top be held on May 14. Prime Minister Prachanda, during a central office meeting of the CPN (Maoist Centre) held in Baluwatar yesterday, urged the alliance of Madhes-based parties to come to the negotiating table to sort out their differences. He asked them to take part in the local-body elections. Meanwhile, 68 fringe parties including the Naya Shakti Party Nepal-led by former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai today began a 'relay hunger strike' here against the rule that granted party-wise election symbols only to those political parties that have representation in the Parliament. The leaders' strike would last until April 21. The parties said they would obstruct the voter-education programmes of the Election Commission (EC) and other programmes by the government and non-governmental organisation if the EC turns deaf ear towards their demand. The 68 parties have been protesting against the Local Level Elections Act that forbids parties outside the Parliament to get party-wise election symbols for the upcoming polls. Madhesis, mostly of Indian-origin, launched a prolonged agitation between September 2015 and February last year against the implementation of the new Constitution which they felt marginalised the Terai community. The protest had resulted in the death of at least 50 people.
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