KATHMANDU, May 7: With preparations for the May 13 local level election coming to a final phase, the Election Commission (EC) has tightened its screw against the breach of poll code of conduct.
The constitutional body has not only disseminated election-focused information through a daily election bulletin but also sought clarifications based on its onsite monitoring and put measures to check activities against election code of conduct.
The EC has sought clarifications from different political parties, ministers, leaders and candidates and also issued a directive for the effective implementation of election code of conduct.
According to the information received, the incidents of code of conduct violation are sporadically taking place in different places.
According to the EC, clarification was sought from Chief Minister of Sudurpaschim Province Trilochan Bhatta a few days ago when he put forward a process to provide Rs 5,000 each to the victim families of freed kamaiya settlement at Kailari Rural Municipality-7 in Kailali district.
Chapter 3(5) of the election code of conduct-2078 BS has stipulated the conduct the government, ministers, local executives and office-bearers are obliged to adhere to. According to the code of conduct, public officials should not be involved in election publicity for and against any political party and candidates.
The election code of conduct has also prevented the approval for other programs except the ones included in the annual budget and program or announcement and implementation of new policy. Likewise, programs such as laying the foundation stone or inauguration of any plan/project, survey, study and grants distributions among others are prohibited during the election.
The EC had also sought clarification from Kathmandu Metropolis mayoral candidate from CPN-UML Keshab Sthapit for his expression against another contender Balen Shah. Likewise, the EC also ordered Bagmati Province Minister for Social Development Kumari Moktan for her involvement in election publicity in support of a local poll candidate.
On May 3, the EC warned the Nepali Congress Central Publicity Committee for producing electoral publicity materials reflecting the activities of other political parties.
So far the Commission has sought clarifications from as many as 37 individuals and political parties for violating the election code of conduct. The EC has enforced the code of conduct since last April 8.
Conduct to be followed by political parties, candidates and their sister organizations
Chapter 4 of the Election Code of Conduct mentions that the conduct should be followed by the political parties, candidates vying for the election and their sister organizations.
Clause 12 of the same Chapter states that the political candidates and their sister organizations should conduct their meetings, conferences, rallies and political campaigns in a disciplined and civilized manner.
No procession, conference, rallies and meetings could be conducted in public places without local administration's permission. Also, the campaigners and attendees participating in meetings, rallies and conferences among others are advised not to wear clothes, hats, vest, shirt, scarf, gloves and masks, batches and carry bags with election symbols or stickers reflecting election symbols.
Election campaigns in public places are allowed from 8.00 am to 7.00 pm only. Candidates are not barred from disclosing their personal identity details in A4 size papers. The Conduct prevents fluttering political parties' flags or flags carrying election symbols in public spaces and one's houses.
Doling out cash, in-kind support and any kind of donations to any organization are forbidden. Many Dos and Don'ts have been mentioned in the Election code of conduct to make elections in a dignified and disciplined manner.
The Election Commission of Nepal has been stepping up its surveillance and controlling the activities that contradict with the election code of conduct. A monitoring team of the Commission conducted on-site monitoring in a few places in Kathmandu and seized the flags and other promotional materials.
Spokesperson for the Commission Shaligram Sharma Poudel shared that they conducted on-site monitoring at Ratnapark, Bagbazar, Putalisadak and Tundikhel among others places last Saturday.
The Commission, acting on the tip-off, confiscated around 200 pieces of caps, around 100 sets of bags, 10 sets of t-shirts and three banners carrying election symbols.