Vote counting halted in Sunsari-3

Sunsari, December 11

Vote counting in Sunsari Constituency No 3 has been halted since today morning after the left alliance raised question over the polling officer’s role in vote counting.

The counting was halted at around 11:00 am when left alliance parliamentary candidate Bhagawati Chaudhary suspected vote rigging and sought recounting or re-polling.

According to left alliance candidate Bhagawati Chaudhary, nine perforated ballot papers were found during vote counting and the returning officer refused to show the serial numbers of those ballot papers when asked, which made the role of officer engaged in vote counting suspect. Chaudhary is currently leading the vote count with 29,326 votes out of the 64,231 votes counted so far. Nepali Congress’ heavyweight Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar is following her with a narrow margin of 155 votes.

Chaudhary has also asked the district election office of Sunsari to replace polling officer Tika Bhushan Ghimire. “After what happened we can’t let vote counting continue. We will decide what to do following a directive from the party,” she said. While attempts to settle the dispute through internal meetings between the concerned parties, Nepali Congress and the left alliance, have failed, security has been beefed at the vote counting site.

A total of 85,197 votes were cast in the constituency. Chief Returning Officer Purushottam Dhakal said they had informed the Election Commission about the dispute and were trying to settle it.

It is important to note that Gachhadar and Chuadhary had also contested in the second Constituent Assembly election. At that time, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic Chairperson Gachhadar had edged to victory against Chaudhary by a meagre margin of 364 votes.