SC orders EC to stay re-poll decision until Sunday

Published On: June 5, 2017 04:54 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 5: The Supeme Court on Monday ordered the Election Commisison not to implement its decision to conduct a re-poll in Bharatpur-19  until Sunday. 

A single bench of Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana issued an order to this effect to the election body and the government both. 

Responding to a writ petititon filed jointly by Gunjaman BK and advocate Tulsiram Pandey, the SC bench ordered the respondents to furnish clarifications why they are opting for a re-election. 

“An interim order has been issued to the Election Commisison and the govenrment asking them not to implement the decision to conduct a re-election until Sunday,” said SC Spoksperson Mahendranath Upadhyay following prelimiary hearings. 

Spoksperson Upadhyay said both the government and the Election Commisison have been summoned before the court for Sunday for discussions before issuing a verdict.  The discussions will focus on  whether to resume vote counting in  Bharatpur-19 or go for fresh polls. 

Advocates Shambhu Thapa, Ravi Narayan Aryal, Shatis Krishna Kharel, Govind Bandi and Tikaram Bhattarai are among those who have demadned  resumption of vote count.

They argued that the vote counting center was not in fact seized by anyone and  instead it was a  plot  aimed at electing Renu Dahal,  daugher of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, as mayor of Bharatpur through the misuse of state agencies. 

They also argued that the Bharatpur incident would set a wrong precendent for the upcomming elections and the election body would be unable to conduct any elections if those facing a defeat at the polls start resorting to tearing up the  ballot papers.

BK and  Pandey had moved  the apex court after the Election Commisison decided to conduct re-elections in Bharatpur-19. The ballot papers were torn  by Maoist representatives just when the vote counting was about to be completed.

Out of 29 wards in Bharatpur, the poll officers have completed vote count for 27 wards and  the UML candidate was leading  with 41,641 votes. Maoist candidate Dahal was trailing with 40,908 votes.  The Maoists  fielded Dahal as mayoral candidate after making an electoral arrangement with the Nepali Congress. 

Even as the election body has said it has no  option but to go for a re-poll in Bharatpur, the main opposition CPN-UML has accused the govenrment of hatching a plot to block the UML candiate from winning. The main oppostion has been accusing  the EC and local poll ofifcers of working in the interests of the ruluing parties. 

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