Voters registered from CPN-UML leader’s house

Kathmandu, August 20

Police arrested three persons, including an Election Commission staffer, last night from Budhanilkantha for registering voters from a CPN-UML leader’s house after the deadline for registration ended yesterday.

The police, however, handed the detainees over to Kathmandu Election Office, which later released them.

Aakrit Khatri, a staffer hired by the poll panel to collect voters’ names in Budhanilkantha Municipality, was arrested at midnight from UML leader Deepak Niraula’s home with a laptop provided by the EC for registering voters.

The police also arrested Niraula and Rajendra Sapkota, chief of Ward No 9 of Budhanilkantha Municipality, after locals protested against them for registering voters’ names at midnight and that too from a UML leader’s house.

Nepali Congress lawmakers Gagan Kumar Thapa sought clarification from the UML on the issue. NC lawmaker Ramhari Khatiwada condemned the EC staffer for using UML leader’s house to register voters.

EC staffers were supposed to register voters from EC offices. Those who had approached the office by 5:00pm were allowed to register their names on the voter list yesterday when deadline for registering ended.

Mayor of Budhanilkantha Municipality Uddhav Pokhrel, who won the mayoral race on UML ticket recently, said thousands of people were deprived of registering their names and one of the employees hired by the EC was arrested while collecting names of his acquaintances after office hours.

Chief of Kathmandu Election Office Chandra Gautam said Khatri was hired on contract and he conceded updating some names after going to a UML leader’s house.

He said the EC could not take any action against Khatri, as he was not its permanent staffer and the name included on the voter list could not be cancelled. “The only mistake he made was that he went to somebody’s house to register names. We are investigating it,” he added.