Attacks on two candidates raise question over poll security

Published On: November 12, 2017 07:58 AM NPT By: Dinesh Subedi

ROLPA, Nov 12: Former minister and CPN (Maoist Center) leader Barshaman Pun were ambushed during his election campaign in Bhittabang, Madi Rural Municipality-1 of Rolpa on Saturday.

His vehicle was ambushed at around 10:30 am while en route to Ghartigaun from Sukhaodar. The vehicle sustained minor damage but nobody got injured.

Just a day earlier on Friday, Minister Janardan Sharma of Maoist Center also faced a similar attack. An explosive was hurled toward Sharma’s vehicle in Goiri, Chaujahari Municipality-8 of Rukum district.

The incident took place at around 9 am when the minister without portfolio was en route to Sano Bheri Rural Municipality for the election campaign. The bomb, however, did not explode and no one sustained injuries. A squad of Nepal Army later diffused the explosive.

Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) has been suspected of carrying out the attack on Sharma. Pun and Sharma both are parliamentary candidates from Rukum and Rolpa respectively. They are representing the left alliance which comprises of CPN-UML and Maoist Center.

The two incidents have raised serious questions about poll security. The first phase of elections is now just two weeks away, which would be followed by the second phase on December 7.

Talking to Republica on Saturday, District Secretary Chandra Bahadur Budha of Chand-led CPN described the attacks as people retaliating against the capitalist parliamentary system. 

Budha indirectly praised the attack and said his party’s official statement would be issued if necessary.

Following the incident, Pun has requested the state for the safety of election candidates. Condemning those involved in the attack, Pun said, “The government must focus on the safety of election candidates. These activities must be stopped immediately.”

Pun is currently at Ghartigau for the election campaign. Police have deployed heavy security in the area.

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