Cut-off date for preparing electoral rolls not published in Nepal gazette: NCP (Dahal-Nepal)
KATHMANDU, FEBRUARY 14
The Nepal Communist Party (NCP) faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal today questioned the legitimacy of mid-term polls scheduled for April 30 and May 10, saying that the poll panel had not completed the process of publishing the cut-off date for preparing electoral rolls in the Nepal gazette.
NCP Standing Committee member Lilamani Pokharel, who represented the Dahal-Nepal faction in a meeting held with the EC today, asked the EC how it could hold midterm polls without settling the NCP authenticity row. The Dahal-Nepal faction and the faction led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli claim to be the authentic NCP.
Pokharel said the EC amended its rules to settle parties' authenticity dispute after the poll date was fixed, but the government had not published the amendment in the Nepal gazette. "The Election Commission is an independent body which can itself amend its rules. It sent the amended rules to the relevant government ministry which later sent them to the Prime Minister's Office. But the latter is not interested in printing them in the Nepal gazette," Pokharel said.
Pokharel told the EC about his party's stance when it invited parties' representatives for their feedback on the draft of election code of conduct.
Nepali Congress leader Ananda Prasad Dhungana told mediapersons at the EC that his party had termed the dissolution of the HoR unconstitutional and an autocratic move, but his party believed in the rule of law and was ready to go to polls if the Supreme Court validated the dissolution of the HoR.
He said he told the EC that the relevant act prohibited carrying of arms and ammunition by the public and candidates during the election and the same provisions should also be incorporated into the election code of conduct. He also told the EC not to allow new appointments, transfer, or promotion of civil servants as that could adversely impact mid-term polls.
EC Spokesperson Raj Kumar Shrestha said representatives of 12 parties took part in the interaction today and the EC would finalise the draft of code of conduct after parties gave their suggestions in writing tomorrow.
He said the EC would take a call on the Dahal-Nepal faction's claim of authenticity soon. He, however, did not say when the EC would take a decision on the issue.
Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya said final electoral rolls would be published in the Nepal gazette by March 5. Asked to comment on the NCP authenticity issue, Thapaliya said today's discussion was on poll code of conduct. He said the poll code of conduct would clearly state who all could charter helicopters during polls and when. He said candidates would have to submit property details and the party would also have to monitor candidates' activities.
A version of this article appears in the print on February 15, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.