CPN-M sends letters to candidates
ITAHARI: The CPN-Maoist, which is opposing the upcoming polls, today submitted letters to the candidates of different political parties in Sunsari, asking them not to take part in the November 19 Constituent Assembly elections. But the leaders in the fray said elections were inevitable and that no one can stop them. The CPN-M delivered the letters to the candidates of Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, the Unified CPN-Maoist and others at their homes.
A team led by CPN-M Sunsari secretary Jas Kumar Rai handed the letters to Krishna Kumar Rai of UML, Chandra Prasad Shrestha of NC, Dhyan Bahadur Rai of Federal Socialist Party and Kamala Tamang of Janamorcha, among others. “The purpose is piling pressure on all the candidates in the district not to take part in the elections,” Rai said, adding that the team would also talk to them to convince them to refrain from polls. “We will take stern action if any of the candidates ignores our request,” he warned, adding that his party would also obstruct the election publicity campaign and put black flags at candidates’ houses. Meanwhile, the UCPN-M, NC, UML and others political parties said that they would retaliate if the CPN-M continued to obstruct any activity related to upcoming elections.
NC district president Rajiv Koirala said that it was unfortunate that the government and other concerned stakeholders failed to bring the poll-opposing parties, including the CPN-M, on board the poll process. UML district chairman Rawati Regmi said that nobody could obstruct the November 19 elections. UCPN-M district in charge Damber Subedi said that the CPN-M did not have the capacity to obstruct the elections and could do nothing to the candidates. Sunsari Chief District Officer Laxman Thapa said that stern action would be taken if anybody tried to obstruct election campaign and the polls. Security has been beefed up, he said, adding that his office would do all that is required to make the November 19 elections a grand success.
Donation drive in Bajura
BAJURA: The CPN-Maoist has intensified donation drive in the district aiming to foil the upcoming elections. The party is collecting donation from various governmental and non-governmental organisations in the district, besides asking government employees, businesspersons, teachers and others to cough up money to ‘help the party in its campaign’. An employee at the Bajura District Development Committee said that the CPN-M has sent letters undersigned by party’s district secretary Bhupendra BK. CPN-M district level leader Nandaraj Pandit, however, claimed that they were not forcing anyone and that the donation was only voluntary. Meanwhile, another leader of the party Suresh BK admitted that they had e sought donation and but also have asked for help to support the CPN-Maoist to boycott the polls.
Govt begins assessing poll security situation
KATHMANDU/ DHANGADI, OCT 08 – As part of its preparations for the November 19 election, the Ministry of Home Affairs has started a ‘micro assessment’ of the security situation across the country. The move follows threats from the CPN-Maoist-led 33-party alliance to boycott and disrupt the second Constituent Assembly polls. In his briefing to officials and journalists, Home Minister Madhav Ghimire said the Nepal Army has not been mobilised against any particular party, group or individual.
“The Army has been mobilised to protect the voting rights of the Nepali people,” he said. He was responding to concerns and objections from some quarters, including the 33-party alliance, that it was unbecoming of a democracy to hold elections by deploying the military. “The Army will simply assist the other security forces and this is being done as per the laws of the land.” The assessment that began from Dhangadi in the Far West on Monday will be carried out in all the five development regions. A second meeting in this regard is scheduled for Tuesday in Nepalgunj in the Mid West, followed by another in Chitwan on Wednesday and in Pokhara on Thursday.
According to government officials, such meetings will find shortcomings, assess the challenges in holding the polls, and discuss possible interference from poll-opposing forces. In Dhanghadi, senior Home Ministry officials briefed local security officials on the Integrated Security Plan the government has prepared for the election, while they also discussed the challenges that the region could face. Among those attending the meeting were Home Minister Ghimire, Home Secretary Janardan Nepal, Chief of Nepal Police Kuber Sumsher Rana, Armed Police Force chief Kosh Raj Onta, Chief of the National Intelligence Department Moti Gurung and Lt General Netra Bahadur Thapa and Director General of Military Operations of the Nepal Army, General Padam Bilas Kari.
Though the Far West is considered a less sensitive region in terms of security , local security chiefs and officials raised some issues when it comes to delivering poll-related materials to polling stations, given the region’s geographical terrain. In the meeting, Chief District Officers of nine districts in the region, the Regional Administrator, the regional police chief and representatives from the Army and the Armed Police Force briefed the officials on the local security situation. Minister Ghimire and security chiefs instructed the local officials to remain on high alert as, according to them, poll-opposing parties may target polling booths, according to an official. He also urged a ‘better coordination’ among the security agencies and urged the officials to provide security to candidates and have in place a fool-proof security during the election.
Nepal: Moving Into ‘Election Mode’ – Analysis By SAAG October 8, 2013
By Dr. S. Chandrasekharan
The good news from Nepal is that the elections are on schedule on November 19 and preparations by the Election Commission and the political parties have begun in right earnest. The bad news is that the 33 fringe parties led by CPN (M) of Mohan Baidya has decided to boycott the elections and even those from the minor parties who had filed nominations have been asked to withdraw their nominations. It is not that the High Power committee did not try their best to get the Baidya group to contest elections. They were willing to go for a round table conference to discuss with all the parties.
But some of the demands of the Baidya group could not have been accommodated when there was very little time left for the proposed elections. The Baidya group wanted to disband the present administrative structure led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi and replaced by a group to be headed by a political appointee. With the time available this would not have been possible and the Baidya group was not clear either how this would improve the credibility of the coming elections. They also demanded a deferral of the elections which would have meant postponement of elections to next May. One last demand which perhaps could have been accepted, was the resignation of the Chief executive Regmi from the post of Chief Justice. But Regmi was very adamant in holding on to the post of Chief Justice and nothing could have been done at this juncture to get him to resign.
The question is whether the elections could be held throughout the country when the Baidya group has openly threatened that they would disrupt the elections. Some sceptics feel that it would be difficult and they point out to the recent incident at Dhulikhel where a passenger bus was torched by them. Ram Bahadur Thapa, former chief of the PLA during the conflict, Defence Minister during Dahal’s regime and now General Secretary of the breakaway group CPN(M) has openly said that they would launch a “second armed struggle.” Their cadres are openly extorting funds from all over the country. They have also declared that they would launch a ten-day protest movement coinciding with the CA polls. There are analysts who believe that the Baidya group should have been accommodated for the smooth conduct of the elections. But how? As pointed out earlier, except for the resignation of Regmi from the post of Chief Justice, none of their other demands could have been accepted unless the parties were prepared to postpone the elections further to next year. People would not have accepted the postponement.
There are some critics who maintain that if Regmi had resigned from the post of Chief Justice, perhaps the group would have given up their other demands and contested the elections. I do not agree with this as the Baidya group with the fringe parties were only waiting to find an excuse not to contest the elections. There are hints that the Baidya group is only repeating what the Maoist group led by Dahal did in the early nineties and how as a result the group finally captured power by going for an insurrection. The situation has changed considerably now. The Baidya group is in no position to take up arms again and people who are fed up with the past conflict will not countenance another one now. But the group has the potential to disrupt the elections at selective points and this is what has to be prevented. A good decision was therefore taken to induct the army for deployment during the elections and it has the approval of the President.
A total of 61,000 army personnel is being set aside as “back up force” during the polls. The Army has also formed a separate “Election Unit” to meet the needs of the elections. Deployment of Army Personnel would necessarily involve an amendment to the interim constitution. The President’s order in the form of an ordinance will have to be ratified within a month of the convening of the new assembly after the polls. The decision to deploy the army personnel has rattled the Baidya group. Baidya has written to the UN not to support the Army deployment as that would be against peace pact. The group had also met the ambassadors of EU on this issue. C.P. Gajurel of the party had a separate meeting with the Swiss Ambassador. When asked as to why they should appeal to the international community, he said that the party had decided to draw the attention of the UN and others only because they had mediated in the ‘historic peace process’ of Nepal. The UN in a statement on 30th September had called for an “inclusive election.”
Other western countries also appear to be taken in by the term “inclusive.” But on 2nd October Baidya’s party finally dashed hopes of everyone and declared that “ all purposes of negotiations with the four major parties and the government has ended. The opposing 33 party alliance will carry out ‘political and publicity’ campaigns and effectively and strongly boycott the Nov 19 elections.” Strongly, in their language has only one meaning- “physical disruption”. Thus, the whole exercise for an “inclusive” election was brought to an end. Now it is for the political parties, the government and its arm- the security forces and above all the people to ensure that elections take place on the 19th of November and thus put an end to months of uncertainty in the country.