KATHMANDU, March 28: The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday sought clarifications from Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi over breach of the election code of conduct.
DPM Nidhi has been accused of using a helicopter and providing money collected by his party Nepali Congress to the family of martyr Govinda Gautam. Gautam was killed by the Indian SSB on March 9 and has been declared a martyr.
On Saturday, Nidhi had reached Punarbas in Kanchanpur district to provide the state-announced Rs 1 million to the victim’s kin. On the occasion, he also provided the kin Rs 700,000 collected by the NC. Another NC leader Ramesh Lekhak, who is also Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, was present at the function held for the handover of the party’s monetary support.
“We have asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to clarify about the use of the helicopter and the distribution of money collected by the party,” Election Commissioner Sudheer Kumar Shah, who heads the EC’s election code of conduct monitoring committee, told Republica.
Clarifications were sought by the election body after the main opposition CPN-UML registered a complaint that DPM Nidhi was involved in breaching the election code of conduct. The party has accused Nidhi of using the helicopter, transferring a huge sum of money ahead of the election and also transferring senior bureaucrats and security officials with a view to influencing the elections.
“The home minister handed over Rs 700,000 and chartered a helicopter,” said UML leader Rajan Bhattarai, “This is stark violation of the election code.”
team led by UML’s Subas Nembang had reached EC headquarters Tuesday afternoon to draw its attention and also to demand transparency while recruiting temporary police for the polls.
Parties are competing with each other in providing monetary support to the victim’s kin. The UML was the first to provide such support, followed by the CPN (Maoist Center). The UML and Maoist leaders have provided Rs 500,000 and 600,000 respectively.
Keeping the election code in mind, these parties had sent only their central leaders to hand over the money.