KATHMANDU, June 28: During the second constituent assembly elections held in 2013, the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal did everything it could to disrupt the elections. The rebel party bombed a truck plying the Mugling-Narayanghat road, attacked poll officers and threatened voters going to polling stations. When all this failed to disrupt the election, it attacked the security forces and poll officers and seized ballot boxes.
So, when the party fielded candidates for some constituencies in Rolpa, a district it considers its stronghold, in the second phase local elections, many felt relieved of worries about possible violence. They thought the party was taking this election as chance to undo a past mistake.
However, that was not to be. Even as the party is campaigning hard to win elections in Rolpa, its supporters are intensifying their anti-poll activities elsewhere. The party on Tuesday enforced a strike against the polls, bringing several districts of the midwestern hills to a standstill.
Police said the party was behind the planting of bombs near polling stations and party offices in several districts. On Monday night, a CPN cadre named Chandra Singh died when the bomb he was carrying exploded.
The incident has drawn widespread criticism from various quarters including some CPN leaders themselves, who are not happy with the party's dubious stance on the local elections. Talking to Republica, some CPN leaders said the party should not have gone for protest activities after fielding candidates. In Rolpa, the party leadership decided to field candidates after they were told they had a strong chance of winning . They pledged tactical support to the Nepali Congress in several local units to secure some mayoral seats in Thabang, the so-called cradle of the Maoist insurgency.
“The party wants to win elections in one district and is at the same time asking people in other districts not to vote."
"In one district we are helping the NC win and in other districts we are telling people the NC is corrupt. People are making fun of us due to this foolish decision,” said a CPN leader based in Dang.
“Our party is doing exactly what the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal is doing. We have lost whatever goodwill we had.” Despite officially boycotting the polls, Rastriya Janata Party Nepal has also fielded candidacies where it feels it has a good chance of winning.
In a statement released on Monday, the CPN appealed to voters to boycott local polls, saying it was only meant for institutionalizing corruption.
“It is very shameful to see candidates scrambling to spend millions to secure a license to loot by winning some elections,” reads the statement.