44 CPN-Maoist cadres quit the party
JAJARKOT, Nov 13: A total of 44 district-level cadres of the CPN-Maoist from Jajarkot district have quit the party expressing party´s violent activities. Leaders Nar Bahadur Giri, Narayan Khatri, Bigyan Pun, Bharat Rawal, Nar Bahadur Nepali, Lal Bahadur Thapa and others detached the party organizing a news conference at Dalli on Wednesday. They said they quit the party as the party´s activities were directed to trampling upon people´s rights by exploding bombs and carrying out physical attacks in the name of boycotting the polls though the central leadership vowed for peaceful boycott.
Four UCPN (Maoist) cadres injured
JAJARKOT, Nov 13: Four cadres of UCPN (Maoist) have been injured following assault of the CPN-Maoist cadres at Damdala of Dhime-1 on Wednesday. Those injured are Bishnu Malla, Shanta Bahadur Basnet, Sushil Jaisi and Chet Bahadur Rawal. The CPN-Maoist cadres attacked over UCPNM cadres while they were running election campaign. The have sustained injuries on heads and legs, though they are out of danger, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Chakra Bahadur Singh said. According to UCPN(M) district coordinator, Tek Bahadur Rawal, a group led by CPN-Maoist cadre Bal Bahadur Malla ´Paurakh´ attacked the party cadres in the wee hours.
Maoist supremo Prachanda escapes bomb blast in western Nepal
Maoist supremo Prachanda had a narrow escape when his vehicle was targeted with a roadside bomb in western Nepal on Wednesday. The UCPN-Maoist Chairman was heading towards Belauri to address a rally ahead of the Constituent Assembly polls on November 19. No one was injured by the blast, police said. Bombs were also found near the venue where Prachanda was scheduled to address the closing ceremony of his party’s Mechi-Mahakali National Campaign, the Himalayan Times reported.
The attack came a day after an army bomb disposal team defused an improvised explosive device (IED) planted merely 100 m away from a dais from which Prachanda and former premier Baburam Bhattarai were to address an election rally at Kanchanpur. Meanwhile, police rounded up at least a dozen CPN-M activists from Chitawan district in southern Nepal for trying to enforce a transport strike.
Security stepped up along Nepal-India border ahead of polls
Security along the Nepal-India border has been stepped up ahead of the crucial November 19 Constituent Assembly polls to avert any disturbances. “In order to prevent any disturbances to the election, security has been tightened along the Nepal-India border in view of the upcoming elections,” Ambassador of India to Nepal Ranjit Rae said today. The frontier is expected to be sealed for three to four days ahead of the election, which is expected to end the political crisis that has plagued Nepal since the dissolution of the first Constituent Assembly in May last year. India has also provided logistic support to Nepal, including 900 vehicles, to ferry security and Election Commission officials.
From candidates to voters, CPN-M now changes tack
KATHMANDU, NOV 13 – As the November 19 election appears inevitable now, poll-opposing parties have apparently taken a strategic shift in their anti-poll tactics. Their activities are now focused on reducing the voter turnout on election day. Earlier, the poll-opposing parties had concentrated on forcing the major political parties to defer the Constituent Assembly election. They tried, but in vain, to achieve that objective by blocking top leaders from campaigning in their constituencies and by generating in them a fear of losing the election. For the past few days, for example, the CPN-Maoist targeted UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal in his constituencies.
However, with the major political parties and their leaders unfazed and campaigning as briskly as earlier in the face of attempted obstructions, the agitators have decided to target voters instead of candidates. “Our ongoing activities are more focused on reducing the voter turnout than challenging the government and security forces,” a CPN-M leader said. “There is no choice for us now. There will be more voter-targeted programmes in the coming days since much of the security forces will be deployed to protect election materials and booths.” The larger motive behind the move to reduce the voter turn out, according to CPN-Maoist leaders, is to make the election’s legitimacy questionable. “The legitimacy of the election would be questioned if the voter turnout remains below 50 percent,” said the CPN-M leader.
“As it appears impossible to get the parties to defer the polls now, we are turning to the voters, who, we believe, do not want to participate in this charade,” said CPN-M spokesperson Pampha Bhusal. ‘Low turn out won’t hit legitimacy’ Observers and analysts, however, said the CPN-Maoist ’s tactic to show the elections as illegitimate is ridiculous. They argue that an election’s legitimacy will not be questioned even if the voter turnout is below 50 percent. Secondly, they say no observer would question the legitimacy of an election on the basis of a low turnout if that is due to violent activities of a dissenting group which does not want to take part in the polls.
“There are examples internationally where elections with as low as 30 percent turnout have been considered fully legitimate,” said Professor Lok Raj Baral. “In fact, there is no international standard for election and voter turnout. In our case, I strongly believe the turnout will not be less than 55 percent, no matter what the CPN-Maoist does.” The observers also argue that there is no point in the CPN-Maoist questioning the legitimacy when the party itself has resorted to violence. “How can a party which has opted out of the polls question the legitimacy of the election when it is engaged in terrorising voters?” said Former Chief Election Commissioner Surya Prasad Shrestha.
“This, however, does not mean we can just ignore anti-poll activities. The government should be vigilant of the poll-opposing forces and take stern action against them.” CPN-Maoist leaders admit that they have started using terror tactics to scare voters away, and if required, they would operate underground to avoid police crackdown. The party has started using explosive devices to spread terror. CPN-M sources said the party is intentionally using ‘real explosive devices’ in the midst of rampant hoax bomb calls to spread fear among the public. The poll-opposing 33-party alliance hopes to utilise the transportation strike to bar people living in cities from going home to cast their vote.
Leaders in command of the protest said they will resort to violent means to stop the people from voting. They said the attack on poll campaigns, firings in anti-election rallies and door-to-door awareness drives, all have evoked a sense of fear among the people. Pasang Sherpa, a leader in the alliance, said tight security measures have compelled them to go ‘semi-underground’ and adopt a ‘hit-and-run strategy.’ Bhusal said Army deployment for the election has proved a boon for them. She said Army camps in villages have terrified the public. “We are confident that an overwhelming number of voters will boycott the polls. They will not support the election being held under the directions of foreign forces,” she said.
Baidya-led alliance disowns violent attacks
KATHMANDU, Nov 13: The agitating 33-party alliance led by CPN-Maoist has denied responsibility for incidents of poll related violence reported across the country over the last three days. Vehicles were vandalized and bombs were planted at several places across the country during the strike enforced by the agitating alliance since Monday. CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung accused the government and the political parties contesting the elections of engineering the incidents.
“Such incidents are bound to occur when the government and the political parties act irresponsibly,” Gurung said. He also said that the government should own responsibility for poll related violence. He said his party does not have any strategy to attack public. “We feel sorry for the incidents but such incidents are bound to occur as the government and the political parties have acted irresponsibly,” he added. Reportedly, the alliance is preparing to create further obstructions as the people have begun defying 10-day long transport strike. However, in an interaction held in Kathmandu on Wednesday, CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya appealed for forging political consensus. He said, “It is still not late as we can all sit together and forge consensus on contentious issues before any untoward incidents happens.” “But imposing stringent security measures to hold elections and suppressing peaceful protest will push the country toward conflict,” Baidya said.
Panic in Jorpati area after suspicious objects spotted
SUNDARIJAL: People in Jorpati area were terrorised after suspicious objects were spotted here early in the morning today. The suspicious objects are thought to be explosives. The objects were found at three spots near the Chamuda Gate at Jorpati cross-road, according to Superintendent of Police Manoj KC of the Metropolitan Police Circle, Boudha. Public transport in the area has been disrupted due to this. A bomb disposal squad of the Nepal Army is preparing to defuse the suspicious objects.
Two motorcycles torched for defying banda in Syangja
SYANGJA, Nov 13: The banda-enforcers have set a motorcycle on fire here today in course of the transport strike imposed by an alliance of 33 political parties including the CPN-Maoist. The banda-enforcers torched the motorcycle (Lu 12 Pa 2784) at Chiuri, Teendobate VDC-6 on the Siddhartha Highway this morning, according to police. The motorcycle was headed to Galyang from Waling. Narayan BikramKhand of Thumpokhara VDC-8 who was riding the motorcycle said that the banda-enforcers stopped him and all of a sudden set I on fire for defying the transport strike. Before this, the banda-enforcers had set one motorcycle (Ga 6 Pa 2125) at Phedikhola VDC-1 and vandalized a taxi [Ga 1 Ja 3693] at Bhalupahad on Tuesday.
NA men defuse bomb found at exhibition road
KATHMANDU, NOV 13 – A Nepal Army bomb disposal unit has defused a bomb found near the exhibition road in Kathmandu on Wednesday afternoon. Situation has limped back to normalcy after the NA men defused the bomb planted by an unidentified group.
Nepal: Plans to arrest anti poll leaders, Baidya group goes underground
Report quotes high placed sources as saying that the government plans to either keep the leaders of the 33-Party Anti-election alliance including NCP-Maoist under house arrest or imprison them immediately. The report adds further, with NCP-Maoist General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa, influential leader Netra Bikram Chand and former combatant leaders already gone underground, it is equally probable that Chairman Mohan Baidya, Vice Chairman CP Gajurel, secretary Dev Gurung and spokeswoman Pampha Bhusal too may decide to hide. Prior to them going underground, the government plans to detain them all, reports Reporters Nepal. In this regard, the ministry of home affairs has already passed advisories to the security bodies, also adds the reports.