Political parties violate election laws

Published On: June 19, 2017 12:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KHOTANG, June 19: Despite being warned by the Election Commission (EC), many political parties in Khotang are found to be conducting poll activities against the election code of conduct.

With the date for election approaching nearer, political parties have intensified poll activities in order to woo more numbers of voters. They are conducting mass gatherings, meetings, door-to-door visits and various other programs almost every single day but while doing this many of them are found violating the election code of conduct. Major political parties like Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML, Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN), and Naya Shakti among others have been found going against the election laws in a bid to attract more voters. They are using T-shirts, caps and various other materials which have the symbol of their party. Leaders and cadres of those parties have been found staging torch processions, mass gatherings and even door-to-door visit wearing such T-shirts and caps.

Even though the Election Commission has time and again warned political parties not to engage children in poll activities, parties are still using children in their campaigns.  Lots of photos are being posted in social media by leaders and cadres of political parties which show little children holding flags during rallies and torch processions. 

As per the election laws, it is unethical to stick posters and pamphlets in religious, cultural and historical places as well as the buildings of public organizations, walls, roads or poles. But most of the electric poles of the district headquarters Diktel are covered with pamphlets and posters. Some of the poles even hold flags of political parties. According to District Election Officer Dinesh Khatri, even though they have observed several cases in which political parties have breached the election laws, no written complaint has been filed yet. “We have heard about such activities. However, no written complaint has been filed yet. So we are unable to punish them,” said District Election Officer Khatri.

The EC has strictly forbidden political parties to use microphones, loudspeakers or any other noise-making devices during poll campaigns. But in Diktel, almost all political parties have booked rooms where they play promotional songs of the parties using loud speakers causing great disturbance to the locals. The NC and the CPN-UML have formed a contact office in Diktel's old base camp in front of the office of the CPN-UML. As per the locals, cadres of both parties play loud music. Promotional songs have created a lot of noise pollution. Similarly, the noise coming out of the offices of RPP, FSFN and Naya Shati Nepal is no less disturbing.

Likewise, no motorbikes are allowed in poll activities but there is a tough competition among the cadres for motorcycle rallies.

Meanwhile, CPN-ML has filed a complaint at the District Election Office against various political parties for conducting poll activities by breaching the election laws. However, Narayan Dahal, who has been entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring election code of conduct, says that all parties have assured to follow the election law from now onward. 

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