The Election Commission today issued a 60-point directive to political parties, urging them to abide by the election code of conduct so as to ensure free and fair elections.

The poll panel has urged political parties not to issue threats, use violence against anybody, or create hurdles against anybody with the motive of depriving them of becoming a candidate or casting votes in local elections.

The EC also urged political parties not to offer gifts in cash or kind, or organise feasts to influence voters.

It asked parties not to do anything that could undermine Nepal's territorial integrity, independence, sovereignty, or national unity. The poll panel also urged parties not to run their election campaign in a way that could create hatred against any person or group based on caste, creed, or religion.

The polls panel urged parties to observe silence period for 48 hours before the election date and not to use government vehicles or other resources for election campaign.

It urged parties to ensure that donations above Rs 25,000 were received only through the banking channel and to submit original receipts relating to their poll expenditure.

It also asked parties not to seize or damage ballot papers.

The poll panel also urged parties not to prevent voters from casting votes or forcing them to reveal whom they had voted for. It prohibited parties from carrying any kind of explosives, arms, or sticks to polling centres.

The poll panel urged parties to ensure that more than one party didn't organise rallies or mass meetings at the same time and place. It also prohibited parties from using children for campaigning.

The EC also summoned representatives of political parties seeking their commitment to the election code of conduct.

Fringe parties' representatives, however, protested against the office bearers of the Election Commission at the EC hall, saying that they were not allowed to express their opinion about the election code of conduct. The fringe parties' representatives alleged that the EC served only major parties' interests.

EC Spokesperson Shaligram Sharma Paudel said the disorderly conduct of some parties' representatives was not quite unexpected in such a large gathering of political leaders.

"Some representatives signed the commitment paper and those who didn't would do so later," Paudel added.

Seventy-nine parties have registered with the EC for local polls slated for May 13.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 6, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.