Ballots from 40 polling stations to be airlifted

Since parties’ reps also want to accompany ballot boxes to district HQ, we need to hire bigger choppersElection Commissioner Narendra Dahal

Kathmandu, November 27

All ballot boxes from the 32 districts that went to the parliamentary and provincial elections yesterday will be kept under the direct supervision and control of chief returning officers and returning officers until the counting begins after the completion of the second phase of election in the remaining 45 districts on December 7.

Ballot papers from 2,410 of the 2,919 polling stations have already been transported to respective district headquarters.

The ballot papers of provincial and parliamentary elections have been kept separately in designated government offices as per the decision of chief returning officers and returning officers, security agencies, political parties and candidates.

According to the Election Commission, ballot papers from the remaining 507 polling stations will be transported to the district headquarters by Tuesday evening.

The government plans to transport ballot papers from 40 of these 507 polling stations to respective district headquarters via helicopters, while those from the rest of the districts will be ferried by election officials on foot.

However, Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal said they might face difficulties in ferrying ballot papers via helicopters due to bad weather. “Since political parties’ representatives also want to accompany ballot boxes to district headquarters, we need to hire bigger choppers. It will depend on the availability of helicopters,” he said.

Ballot boxes that have already reached district headquarters have been kept under special security supervision of Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and representatives of political parties, according to Dahal.

“Ballot boxes have been kept inside a room which is padlocked, while security forces and representatives of political parties supervise from outside,” Dahal told THT. “If political parties want, they can also place separate padlocks in the room.”

The rooms where ballot boxes have been placed are also under the CCTV surveillance, Dahal said. According to Election Commissioner Sudheer Shah, security forces and political representatives will supervise the rooms where ballot boxes have been placed 24X7. “If political parties demand army deployment, we can also do that,” he told THT.

The election was held on Sunday for 37 parliamentary and 74 provincial constituencies under the first-past-the-post election system, and also under proportional representation system.

The districts that went to the polls yesterday were: Taplejung, Panchthar, Khotang, Okhaldhunga, Bhojpur, and Solukhumbu from Province 1; Nuwakot, Dhading, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha and Ramechhap from Province 3; Mustang, Myagdi, Baglung, Manang, Lamjung and Gorkha from Province 4; Rukum-east and Rolpa from Province 5; Rukum-west, Jajarkot, Humla, Mugu, Jumla, Kalikot and Dolpa of Province 6; and Darchula, Bajhang, Bajura and Baitadi of Province 7.

Altogether, 275 members of the federal parliament — 165 from the FPTP and 110 from the PR electoral system — will be elected after completion of both the phases of elections.  A total of 550 members of provincial assemblies — 330 under FPTP and 220 under PR system — will also be elected.