15 per cent votes invalid in Biratnagar

Biratnagar, July 5

Around 15 per cent of the votes counted in Biratnagar Metropolis by today evening in the second round of local elections were found invalid.

The metropolis. with 113.761 eligible voters had seen 80,744 votes cast. Of the cast ballots, around 29,000 were counted by this evening.

According to persons involved in the vote count, around 4,500 votes were spoilt. The data,

however, is yet to be officially declared by the office of the returning officer.

According to sources, most of the spoilt ballots are from the southern parts of Biratnagar, predominantly Madhesi areas.

Stakeholders have cited lack of voter education in that area as the major reason why there was maximum number of invalid votes. The southern flank of Biratnagar has ward numbers 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19. Of them, vote counting in Wards 16, 17 and 18 has finished, while vote counting in ward number 15 is going on.

“Despite our aim to limit invalid votes at 7 per cent, the per cent has reached somewhere around 15,” said regional returning office Information Officer Bhakta Bahadur Bhattarai, adding they are yet to finalise the per cent of invalid votes ward-wise.

Vote count at the metropolis is happening in 10 places simultaneously. As per the result of the vote count by this evening, Nepali Congress mayoral candidate Bhim Parajuli is leading with 12,248 votes. His competitors CPN-UML-Nepal Democratic Forum Nepal alliance’s candidate Binod Dhakal and Federal Socialist Forum Nepal-CPN-MC alliance’s mayoral candidate Umesh Yadav have garnered 8,669 and 8,091 votes respectively. NC candidate Indira Karki has been leading in the race for the post of deputy mayor.