ACHHAM, June 30: Just like in the first phase of local elections, the electoral alliance of the ruling parties, Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (Maoist Center), has demanded re-polling. This time though, they have demanded re-polling at Chauparti Rural Municipality-4 and Sanphebagar Municipality-6 of Achham district.
Claiming that the main opposition CPN-UML captured the polling center and chased away representatives of other parties in collaboration with security personnel and election officers, the NC-Maoist coalition has demanded that all votes cast at the Baija Nath Higher Secondary School polling center in ward number 4 be considered void and a reelection be held.
NC district President Bharat Kumar Swar and Maoist Center's district coordinator Jhapat Saud jointly issued a press statement on Thursday, a day after the elections, and demanded re-polling in order to “safeguard the people's rights to vote”.
The alliance claimed that UML's district Chairman Sher Bahadur Kunwar was directly involved in the incident where the representatives of other parties, including NC and Maoist Center, were beaten and chased away from the polling station.
NC and Maoist Center have also demanded an investigation into the incident. The parties have threatened to disrupt vote counting in all wards of Chauparti Rural Municipality “if a re-election is not held in ward number 4”.
Likewise, the NC-Maoist coalition also demanded re-polling in Bhagishwar of Sanphebagar Municipality-6. According to the alliance, NC's mayoral candidate Dhoj Bahadur Kunwar and deputy mayoral candidate Rupa Aauji were mistreated while attempting to enter the polling center, under the direction of UML Vice-chairman Bhim Rawal.
The alliance also claimed that the UML chased away the representatives of other parties and captured this polling center too. However, the alliance has not offered any evidence to substantiate its claims.
Although the locals voted to elect their own representatives after a hiatus of 20 year, the demand for re-polling by the ruling coalition has added uncertainty that their votes would be respected. NC has threatened that they would not participate in the vote counting process if re-polling is not done. As the tension grows, Sanphe Bagar Municipality, which is considered as an important local unit of Achham district, might need to wait longer for its local representatives to be elected.
The district, which falls under Province-7, voted in the second phase of local elections on June 28. Among the 10 local units of the district, vote counting is already underway in Bannigadi Rural Municipality, Dhakari Rural Municipality, Rama Roshan Rural Municipality and Kamal Bazaar Municipality, according to Chief District Officer (CDO) Shankar Bista. Authorities said vote counting in the district headquarters Mangalsen will also begin soon.
Earlier in the first phase of local elections, representatives of Maoist Center had torn votes in Bharatpur-19 of Chitwan district after their mayoral candidate Renu Dahal, who is also a daughter of immediate past Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, faced an imminent defeat. Maoist Center and its ally NC blamed UML for tearing the votes and then demanded a controversial re-polling.