• Only central secretariat level office bearers should be barred
Election Commission (EC) of Nepal
Election Commission. Photo: THT/File
Kathmandu, March 27 The Election Commission has decided to prohibit government employees who are office bearers of civil service trade unions of government offices from election duty. Poll duties from which trade union office bearers would be barred include any work that is supposed to be verified by government employees, voter education, transportation of electoral materials to different districts and polling centres, manning of poll centres, distribution of voter identity cards, entering election related data on computers and dispatching poll results and data to districts and the centre. The EC said the decision was taken to ensure fairness in polls. The EC is planning to mobilise over 1,05,000 employees in about 21,000 polling stations across the country during local level polls slated for May 14. The commission said at least five employees and three volunteers were needed in each polling station. Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal said government employees associated with trade unions other than office bearers could be deployed for poll related work. Almost all major political parties have their trade union wings in government offices and most civil servants, government teachers and government employees are members of one or another trade union. EC’s Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma said the commission had also prohibited trade union office bearers from carrying out poll related works in the second Constituent Assembly elections. Nepal Civil Service Employees Union’s Chairman Kedar Prasad Devkota said, “We have urged the EC to prevent only central level and secretariat level office bearers of trade unions from engaging in the polls related activities.” Constitutional lawyer Chandra Kanta Gyawali backed the EC decision, arguing that office bearers of civil servants’ unions can mobilise entire organisations to influence election.