CEC Yadav plays down EC secy’s transfer

Kathmandu, June 23

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav today defended yesterday’s Cabinet decision to transfer Election Commission secretary over differences with himself and four other commissioners.

“It is a normal procedure,” Yadav said of the decision to transfer Secretary Gopinath Mainali to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. “As many as 13 secretaries have been transferred out of the Election Commission in the past 11 years.” This transfer will not affect the local elections due on June 28 in Provinces 1, 5 and 7, Yadav said.

CEC Yadav refused to take any question from journalists.

The code of conduct, issued by the EC, however, puts  a blanket ban on transfer and deputation of employees in the run-up to local level elections.

Secretary Mainali said his transfer was an act of vendetta because he was opposed to certain perks and benefits being claimed by the election commissioners, including Yadav.

CEC Yadav said the EC had been cautioning the government about the poll security. He said vested interests were campaigning against elections and anti-election incidents were happening every day.

He added that the commission was satisfied with security arrangements of the government, which had identified highly sensitive, sensitive and normal areas and arranged security accordingly. He said the EC was aware of the incidents of poll code violation, which had spiked after the EC published final nomination lists and allotted election symbols.

The EC has already deployed over 4,000 national-level poll observers and under-cover micro monitors to check incidents of poll code violation.

The poll panel said it had already supplied electoral materials — ballot papers, indelible ink and ballot boxes — and deployed employees for the second phase of elections scheduled to be held on June 28 in 334 local levels of 35 districts of Provinces 1,5 and 7.