Senior politicians, ministers not to cast their votes in phase I polls

Published On: May 13, 2017 07:53 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 12: While millions of people are preparing to cast their votes to elect their local level representatives after two decades on Sunday, most of the senior leaders including the president, former president and former prime ministers will not cast their vote in the first phase of the local polls.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari, who had already announced not to cast her vote, will remain outside the country during the election. Bhandari on Friday left for Thailand on her way to Sri Lanka for a five-day visit.

Acting President Nanda Bahadur Pun will not cast his vote in the first phase of elections. According to his secretariat, the vice-president is a voter of Duikholi Rural Municipality in Rolpa. The government has decided to hold the local polls in the area only on June 14 in the second phase. 
Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Planning, Ramesh Lekhak and Minister for Information and Communications, Surendra Karki are unlikely to cast their votes as they will be in China to attend the Belt and Road Forum. 

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is going to Chitwan district along with his family members, where he will cast his vote from Lamku polling center of Bharatpur Metropolitan City. 

His daughter is contesting the election for the mayoral post of the same metropolitan city. “He will cast the first vote from Chitwan district,” said his press advisor Govinda Acharya.

Former president Ram Baran Yadav is not casting his vote in the local polls arguing that voting for a candidate will be against the principle of maintaining neutrality by a former head of state. 

“I am not going to cast my vote in this election. I urge the major political parties and the government to bring all political forces on board the election process and wish for the success of the polls,” Yadav told Republica. A voter of Dhanusha district, Yadav didn’t cast his vote in the last Constituent Assembly elections as well. 

Chiefs of major political parties are not getting the chance to cast their votes in the first phase of elections. Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-UML Chairman K P Oli will vote only in the second phase because they are voters of Province-7 and Province-6, respectively, where the polls are  scheduled for the second phase. 

Former prime minister and coordinator of Naya Shakti Nepal Baburam Bhattarai is however going to cast his vote at a polling center at Annapurna Higher Secondary School in his home district Gorkha. 
Rastriya Prajatantra Party Chairman Kamal Thapa will be casting his vote at Baljyoti poling center of Makwanpur Sub-metropolitan City. Most of the leaders of Madhes-based political parties aren’t going to cast their votes in the phase I polls as the polls will be held in their constituencies only in the second phase. 

It’s not sure whether former King Gyanendra Shah would cast his vote in the local polls. Phaniraj Pathak of his secretariat said the former king is in a mood to cast his vote but it is yet to be confirmed. Shah didn’t cast his vote in the previous two Constituent Assembly elections.


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