Kathmandu, September 3

The Election Commission has urged the government to respond within two days to reports of 10 secretaries and 14 joint-secretaries of the government going on foreign tours.

The clarification has been sought from the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, according to EC Spokesperson Nawaraj Dhakal. The poll panel had decided to put a stop on foreign visits by government officials unless they had to represent Nepal at the UN, SAARC, and other international and regional forums. The prohibition was made in the election code of conduct issued in view of the upcoming provincial and parliamentary polls.

The EC has also drawn the attention of NC central member Dr Shekhar Koirala for violating the election code of conduct by wearing caps and T-shirts bearing the NC party symbol in the course of election campaigning.

Election Commissioner Ila Sharma said the purpose of banning the use of caps and T-shirts with election symbol printed on them was to prevent poll campaign from becoming expensive and pompous. She said the EC wanted to create a level playing field for all candidates and if the use of such caps and T-shirts was not discouraged then the richer candidates would have an advantage over less privileged candidates.

“We have seen massive use of caps with election symbols in the US elections. We want to fix our own standards on such issues,” Sharma added.