Disputes halt counting at places

Siraha, September 19

As vote counting continues for the third and last round of local elections in Province 2, there are reports of disruption in the counting process due to disputes at a few places.

In Lahan Municipality-3, Siraha, vote counting was halted amidst preparations to make the final results public after Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal sought a recount.

According to Returning Officer Narayan Bahadur Thapa, FSF-N sought recount of votes upon learning that NC ward chairperson candidate had won by a thin margin. Thapa, however, fell short of revealing the vote difference.

The disrupted process is yet to resume. Returning officer Thapa said discussion is on among parties to facilitate resumption of the halted process.

Likewise, a clash broke out between cadres of rival political parties   at the vote counting site in Brindaban Municipality, Rautahat, today, leading to a halt in the counting process. The clash erupted after CPN-UML parliamentarian Ram Kumar Bhattarai reached the vote counting site. Doubting his motive, cadres of other parties’ cadres protested, leading to a clash.

Two UML cadres Dharmendra Patel and Sunil Patel were seriously injured in the fracas. They were sent to Chandranigahpur Hospital for treatment.

A huge security presence has now been maintained at the site to prevent escalation of the situation. Returning Officer Laxman Upadhyaya Ghimire said initiatives are on to resume vote counting.

Elsewhere in Bara, vote counting was halted twice in Baragadi Rural Municipality today. The counting had to be halted for an hour after a dispute arose between political parties’ representatives and vote counters over the latter’s opening of seals on ballot boxes.  “Once vote counting had halted for an hour and resumed from 3:00pm, it was halted again from 7:00pm over the same issue,” informed Returning Officer Ramesh Ghimire.

According to Ghimire, 1,600 votes were counted before the process was halted. As per the latest data, Nepali Congress candidate is leading closely followed by the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal candidate.