Kathmandu November 13
The Ministry of Home Affairs has prepared a security plan that will enable security personnel to reach troubled spots in less than 30 minutes during the parliamentary and provincial polls slated for November 26 and December 7.
According to MoHA Spokesperson Narayan Prasad Sharma Duwadi, the government will deploy quick response teams within five kilometres of the polling stations to quickly reach the troubled spots.
“QRTs can reach the troubled spots quickly – in some places within five minute to 10 minute and in not later than 30 minutes even in difficult terrain. It depends on geography and road access.”
Duwadi said QRTs would be on standby near polling centres during the elections.
QRTs will be deployed keeping in mind the topography of the area and potential security challenge. According to Duwadi, security assessment is being made on the basis of geographic location, intensity of rivalry between political parties and previous incidents of violence.
“MoHA has taken preventive and curative security measures,” Duwadi told THT. It has planned to mobilise 2.5 lakh security personnel, including those from Nepali Army, Armed Police Force, Nepal Police and temporary police, to ensure free and fair polls. He added that each polling station would be provided with three layers of security: temporary police and Nepal Police will be deployed in the first layer, APF and mobile security forces in the second and army in the third.
There will be 19,809 polling booths in 10,671 polling stations for both phases of elections.
MoHA has directed local administration and security units to nip anti-poll activities in the bud and take action against miscreants as per the law. The MoHA instruction came after CPN-Maoist Centre candidates Janardan Sharma and Barshaman Pun were targeted in Rukum and Rolpa on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
“It is the fundamental right of voters to cast votes without fear and it is the constitutional right of candidates to contest elections without any fear. The security forces have been deployed to ensure that election campaign goes ahead peacefully,” added Duwadi. He added that Pun carried out his election campaign in Thawang, Rolpa, peacefully today.
“We are coordinating with the Election Commission and have been discussing what more can be done to make robust security arrangements,” he said.
The first phase elections will be held in 37 parliamentary FPTP constituencies and 74 provincial FPTP constituencies of 32 mountainous and hilly districts on November 26. The second phase of elections will be held in 128 parliamentary FPTP constituencies and 256 provincial FPTP constituencies in 45 hilly and Tarai districts on December 7.
A version of this article appears in print on November 14, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.