Children being used for poll campaigning

Bajura, June 2

Political parties have been found using children for poll campaigning in Bajura.

Chief of Women and Children’s Office Kamala Shahi said her office had received hordes of complaints regarding the use of children for election campaigning.

“We will soon monitor the situation and if the political parties are found violating the poll code, action will be taken against them,” said Shahi, who also rued non-implementation of a previous agreement to spare kids in election-related programmes and publicity campaigns.

According to Randip Budhathapa, a resident of Himali Rural Municipality, major parties such as the CPN-UML, the Nepali Congress and the CPN-MC have been using children for poll campaigning.

Laximaj Padhya, a local civil society member, said, “Parties are using children for election publicity in a clear violation of the election code of conduct, which is unfortunate.”

Child Rights Forum Bajura Chairperson Sher Bahadur Rawal, on his part, pledged to monitor the campaigns.

Meanwhile, even government officials are involved in election campaigns in the district in defiance of the election code of conduct. While teachers are seen wearing dresses meant for election campaigning, health workers can also been seen wearing dresses with slogans of political parties during duty hours.

Responding to complaints, the District Education Office has published a notice pledging action against teachers involved in election campaigns. Similarly, Chief at the District Health Office Dr Rupchandra Bishwokarma said his office would take stringent action against health workers involved in election publicity.

He said, “We’ve already written to local health facilities, urging them to discourage health workers’ involvement in election campaigning.”

Local political parties, however, denied that kids and government employees were involved in election campaigns.