CPN MC cadres tear ballot papers, vote counting halted in Bharatpur

CHITWAN: The counting of votes in Bharatpur Metropolitan City-10 of Chitwan district has been halted after CPN Maoist Centre representatives reportedly tore ballot papers with votes on Sunday midnight.

Police immediately arrested two Maoist cadres Drona Babu Siwakoti and Madhu Neupane and a CPN-UML cadre Gangalal Lama for tearing the ballot papers with votes. They had barged into the covered hall and tore the ballot papers while the counting of votes was underway at around 11:44 pm yesterday, according to Superintendent of Police Deepak Thapa at the Chitwan District Police Office.

Police resorted to lathi-charge while party cadres started moving towards the covered hall after getting tipped off on the incident taking place inside.

Chief Election Officer Kavi Prasad Neupane said that the party cadres shredded the ballot papers when he had left for the restroom. The number of ballot papers that were shredded is yet to be determined.

CPN-UML candidate for mayor in the Metropolis, Devi Prasad Gyawali has accused the CPN MC cadres of carrying out such untoward activities as a planned scheme. Gyawali said the votes were torn as he was ahead of CPN MC's mayoral candidate Renu Dahal by the difference of 755 votes.

Moreover, the Maoist Centre has accused UML cadres of tearing up the papers.

Of the total 29 wards in the Metropolis, the vote counting of all wards has been concluded except ward no. 19 and to 20. The vote counting for ward no. 19 was going to conclude by the time the incident occurred, said Gyawali.

The District Election Office has postponed the vote counting until further notice. The Officer Neupane said that the report about the incident would be submitted to the Election Commission Office in Kathmandu on Monday.