NRNA election: Sharma faction claims serious errors in online election

Published On: November 29, 2023 06:30 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 29: The controversy surrounding the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) has intensified. The controversy that started after the vice-president candidate Keshab Paudel got zero votes in the NRNA 11th convention in Kathmandu has not been resolved yet.

After the election committee announced the list of the elected committee including Badri KC, Mahesh Shrestha and RK Sharma, the competitors of the chair, formed a new committee saying the election was rigged. Supporters of Shrestha and Sharma said that the KC-led committee was illegal and declared the committee headed by RK Sharma as president and Buddhiprasad Subedi as general secretary, leading to parallel activities by KC and Sharma within the NRNA. The Sharma faction has been calling the KC-led committee announced by the election committee as illegal. The KC side has been saying that the self-proclaimed Sharma-led committee lacks justification.

On Tuesday, the RK Sharma-led committee held a press conference in Kathmandu, asserting that a serious error occurred in the online election conducted last October. Sharma cited seven significant errors in the online election process and demanded strict action against those responsible.

Sharma alleged that the votes cast for Keshab Paudel, the vice-president candidate from Nepal, were recorded as zero. Initially, an explanation cited a difference in the names on global and local ballot papers, but upon scrutiny, no such disparity was found. Subsequently, it was claimed that there was a back-end system intrusion error, raising further doubts about the overall integrity of the system, according to Sharma. Additionally, Sharma pointed out that, as per the system's features, the number of votes for all officials should be equal. The delegates coming to Nepal claimed that since it is compulsory to vote from the booth of Soaltee Hotel in Kathmandu, there is a difference between the votes cast from Nepal and the votes cast from SoalteeHotel.

According to Section 21 (7) of the NRNA Statute, after the International Convention delegate selection process begins, although there is a provision that no regulation can be changed or amended to affect the election, the electoral roll was extensively changed, the resolution of face verification for online voting was reduced from 995 to 600 shortly after the election. This 55-point reduction has raised serious doubts about the election, reducing the resolution of face verification to less than 80 percent is against the international standards of face verification, and changing the election process in the middle of the election is also a violation of the electoral roll. Budhisagar Subedi, Secretary General of Sharma Party, said that since the user ID and password obtained for voting at Solti Hotel were withdrawn from the election staff, they suspected that the password might have been misused. Vice President Gangadhar Gautam said that there is serious doubt about the credibility of the online voting system due to some evidence that someone else has voted from abroad in the name of some representatives who were present in Nepal.

During the press conference, Subedi also emphasized the NRNA's commitment to the well-being of Nepalis, citing their distribution of 2000 blankets, 500 tarpaulins, 4000 meters of mattresses, and food to earthquake-affected communities in the initial phase.


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