Poll code of conduct flouted in Province 7

Dhangadi, June 19

As the second phase of local level elections approaches, various political parties have been violating the election code of conduct in Province 7. This is happening apparently because the authority concerned has taken the monitoring of parties’ activities as just a formality.

Political parties have used children, election publicity materials, vehicles and conducted election publicity campaigns in public places against the code of conduct.

As per the election code of conduct, no political party, candidate, or election representative is allowed to paste posters, paint the walls, hang banners or make digital displays, among other activities for publicity. But the parties have been flouting these directives openly. There is a kind of competition to show up with the mass wearing election symbol painted t-shirts and caps in Province 7.

Election code of conduct monitoring Officer Surendra Singh Karki of Kailali said that they could not carry out the monitoring drive due to some provision. “We cannot carry out inspections as the EC is busy deploying staffers to different polling stations.” Karki said that his office would take serious action as per the complaints filed by political parties and the public.

Kailali’s Chief Election Officer Dhan Singh Mahara said that his office has received complaints through telephone about the violation of election code of conduct in the district. He added that a team had carried out an inspection after the public complained that Rastriya Prajatantra Party had used the government vehicles for election publicity campaigns. It is said that political parties have been using more than the number of vehicles allowed by the code of conduct in Kailali. Mahara said that the code of conduct has to be followed.

Nepali Congress Kailali Vice-president Prakash Bom said that his party was committed to follow the election code of conduct. “We have stopped distributing t-shirts,” he added. All political parties have shown commitment to follow the code of conduct, but that has only been verbal.

Similarly, teachers have been found to be involved in election publicity campaigns for their respective parties. Teachers affiliated to CPN-UML, NC and CPN-Maoist Centre, among others, were involved in the elections. They even delivered speeches on the stage.

Far-west Regional Education Director Lal Jung Chauhan said that his office would not take any action against teachers until cases were filed against them.

Likewise, a dozer is being used to expand the road to attract voters at Jorayal and Badi Kedar Rural Municipalities in Doti.

Mukunda Panta of Jorayal Rural Municipality said that the dozer was used against the election code of conduct to motivate voters. “The constituency development fund is being misused,” he added. Panta said that the dozer was being used in the presence of candidates. “The road expansion has not stopped even though they informed the administration time and again,” he said. The road expansion from Badi Kedar to Matela is under way and a dozer is being used.

Meanwhile, Doti Chief District Officer Gokarna Prasad Sharma said that his office has received complaints about the violation of election code of conduct.