Govt discusses situation, candidates’ security

Kathmandu, February 5:

The first vice chairman of the council of ministers, Dr Tulsi Giri, today called a meeting of ministers at his office in Singha Durbar and discussed overall preparations for the municipal elections and security situation across the country.

“It was a regular meeting and it mainly focused on the country’s overall security situation and protection of the candidates contesting the municipal elections,” a minister told this daily. The minister said that it was the “compulsion of the government to keep the candidates under security cordon keeping in mind the Maoist threats”.

The minister said the meeting was ‘satisfied’ with the people’s participation in the run-up to the municipal elections despite the Maoist threats to life and the agitating parties’ call to actively boycott the polls, scheduled for Wednesday.

“It is encouraging that people filed their candidatures despite the Maoist threats and the seven-party alliance’s decision to boycott the polls,” said the minister.

The meeting is learnt to have discussed the Maoist-called week-long general strike but expected that the people would defy it and resume their usual business, mainly in the capital.

The meeting, according to the minister, expected that average polling would be between 30 to 40 per cent with high turn-out in some municipalities of the Terai districts such as Jhapa,

Morang, Bara and Rautahat, where voters’ turn out would ‘cross 40 per cent’.

The meeting concluded that polling in Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Dhangadi and other municipalities in hill districts would be less than 30 per cent, the minister said.