Poll alliances have reduced possible clashes

Kathmandu, November 2

The Nepali Army has concluded that formation of electoral alliances has significantly reduced the threat of violence and clashes during the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections scheduled for November 26 and December 7.

After analysing the country’s security situation with inputs and presentations made by its various departments, units and senior officials, the army reached this conclusion today.

The meeting was also attended for Defence Minister Bhimsen Das Pradhan and Chief of Army Staff Rajendra Chhetri.

According to Nepali Army’s Director of Public Relations and Information Brigadier General Nainraj Dahal, security situation has improved after political parties formed electoral alliances. “It has definitely reduced chances of clashes among party cadres,” said Dahal, who is also the army spokesperson.

According to a source, army officials also discussed possible security threats from underground groups in Province 2 and concluded that since the recently-held local-level elections were largely peaceful, there would not be significant security threat in the province.

Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal and Federal Democratic Forum-Nepal have formed electoral alliance in Province 2. The CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre have forged a nationwide electoral alliance, while the two Madhes-based parties and the two Rastriya Prajatantra Parties have also aligned with the Nepali Congress in some constituencies.

In the government’s election security plan, the army is the last layer of security, after temporary police, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force. President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had last Wednesday approved the election security plan for a fearless, free and fair elections.

As per the plan, all four layers of security will be deployed in an integrated and coordinated manner, according to Defence Minister Pradhan. A total of 64,020 army personnel will be deployed for the two phases of elections.

The army will put its helicopters on standby in all the regions. It has also set up a quick-response team in every district considered sensitive from the security point of view. In such districts, the army will also deploy bomb disposal teams. With the Nepal Police assigned the duty of election security, the army will look after security of sensitive areas, such as prisons and airports.

The Election Commission, which is printing the ballot papers under the army’s security, will dispatch the papers to the districts under the army.

The security agencies have already started monitoring possible security challenges and activities against the election.

The army has committed to do its bit to create fearless environment before and after elections so that all the stakeholders will be able to participate in elections without any fear.

In a statement issued today, CoAS Chhetri said the army will fulfil its responsibility in a professional manner on the basis of the roadmap presented by the army headquarters to ensure peaceful elections.