The recent threatening statements issued by top guns of the ruling parties have instilled fears among the voters

The Election Commission (EC) has said that it is fully prepared to prevent any untoward situation before and after the local level election scheduled for today.

According to the EC, there are 17,733,723 eligible voters across the country who will be electing a total of 35,200 candidates at the local levels whose elections are being held for the second time since the promulgation of the new constitution in 2015. Morang district has the highest number of voters with 715,223, while the Himali district of Manang counts the lowest number with just 6,416 voters. Jhapa and Kathmandu are ranked second and third with the highest number of voters respectively, while Mustang and Dolpa are the districts with second and third lowest number of voters respectively. This time, the voting for all 753 local levels is taking place in a single phase. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, around 260,000 personnel from the Nepali Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, National Investigation Department and temporary police have been deployed for the local level elections in line with the Integrated Security Plan to ensure robust security measures and completion of election in a free, fair, fearless and peaceful manner. It said security personnel had been watchful round-the-clock to prevent any untoward incident from the start of voting period till the announcement of results.

In order to make the election processes free, fair and peaceful, the EC has issued two directives - the Local Level Elections (voting) Directive-2022 and the Local Level Elections vote-counting) directive-2022 - both of which have clearly defined the circumstances that are considered as captured. As per the Local Level Elections (Voting) Directive, 2022, it has stated that if any person or group stops the voters on their way to the polling centre on the suspicion that they are going to vote for any candidate other than those the group has in mind, and allows the passage of only those who support a particular candidate, it will be considered a capture of the polling centre. In such circumstances, the district election officer may cancel such voting on the recommendation of the returning officer and announce the date for re-polling in that polling centre.

Likewise, the Local Level Elections (Vote Counting) Directive-2022, has specified the circumstances under which a ballot counting centre will be considered as captured. According to this directive, capture of ballot counting centre will be referred to such circumstances, wherein any person or group influences the ballot counting process by resorting to undue force, issuing threat or intimidating the officials concerned.

Such activities, especially from the cadres of the ruling parties, cannot be prevented unless the EC itself is serious and takes prompt action against the wrongdoers without and political bias. There are some municipalities and wards, where the chances of taking place voters' intimidation are very high. The recent threatening statements issued by top guns of the ruling parties have instilled fears among the voters of opposition parties. As the elections are being held in a single phase, it is also impossible for the EC to adequately monitor all the sensitive polling centres across the country. However, such illegal acts can be stooped if the EC takes action following the reports from the polling centre.

Summer diseases

People are suffering from various kinds of health complications due to changed climatic conditions leading to rising temperature, especially in urban areas and Tarai region. Food quickly becomes gangrened and stale within a day if not preserved at low temperature. Consumption of unhygienic food may lead to food poisoning, typhoid, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and low blood pressure.

In extreme cases, people, especially children and elderly people, may also die if they do not get immediate medical attention.

Considering the summer and fast approaching rainy seasons, doctors have advised the people not to consume contaminated water and junk food and drink a plenty of boiled water to be free from food poisoning and water borne diseases. It is estimated that about 15 percent people in the Tarai suffer from food poisoning and water borne diseases mostly during summer and rainy seasons. Doctors have advised the people to consume plenty of fluids, boiled water, fresh vegetables and fruit, lime water and milk products during the summer season when more fluid is discharged as sweat. It is needed to avoid factory-made food to be free from common health related diseases that can be easily controlled.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 13, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.