CHITWAN, June 3: Protesting against the decision to conduct re-polling in ward 19 of Bharatpur metropolitan City, the main opposition CPN-UML organized a massive torch procession in Chitwan district on Saturday evening.
The procession started from Narayanghat and went through the bazaars to conclude at Pulchowk. A large number of youths and students affiliated to the UML participated in the procession.
They demanded the scrapping of the decision to hold a re-poll and resumption of vote count in ward 19. Three other parties - CPN-ML, Rastriya Janamorcha and Naya Shakti Nepal - released statements in protest of the re-polling decision by the Election Commission (EC).
In the joint statement, the parties said they will not accept the wrong decision of EC. UML's Chitwan district chairman Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, Janamorcha's district vice-chairman Amar Bahadur JC, Naya Shakti's district co-coordinator Padam Bahadur Gurung and CPN-ML's district member Santosh Shrestha jointly released the statement, claiming that EC's decision is illegal and undemocratic.
They also accused the CPN (Maoist Center) of intentionally orchestrating the incident after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal's daughter's defeat was 'certain' in Bharatpur. They blamed the EC for hatching a plot to tilt the election results in favor of the Maoist Center.
Likewise, the meeting of the UML parliamentary party at Singhadurbar held on Saturday concluded that the party would protest the decision and will seek a legal remedy against the EC decision.
Speaking after the meeting, UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli accused the EC of taking the decision under the pressure and influence of the ruling parties and the government. “This decision to encourage those involved in an election offense does not suit the democratic norms and values,” he said.
He added that the party would not take part in the election of the Prime Minister in the House slated for Sunday claiming that the election procedure has not started yet in the House. The UML has been obstructing the house, calling for resumption of the counting of votes in Bharatpur-19.
The election in Bharatpur metropolis has been keenly observed nationwide after Maoist Center fielded Renu Dahal, the daughter of Prime Minster Pushpa Kamal Dahal, as its mayoral candidate for the metropolis forging an electoral alliance with the Nepali Congress (NC).
Of the total 29 wards, the vote counting is over in 27 wards. The vote counting was close to being concluded in ward 19, where Maoist Center was expecting big victory and the turning point for them. However, representatives of Maoist Center deliberately tore off the votes to orchestrate the stage for re-polling after their mayoral candidate Renu Dahal failed to close the gap with her competitor UML's Devi Gyawali and faced imminent defeat.
Before the incident, UML's mayoral candidate Gyawali was leading the poll by 733 votes. While Gyawali had received a total of 41,641 votes, Maoist Center's Renu Dahal was trailing behind him with 40,908 votes.