Zero turnout at Thawang
ROLPA, Nov 19: Not a single vote was cast for any of the first-past-the-post candidates at the three polling stations at Thawang, the epicenter of decade long armed insurgency waged by the Maoist party. The cadres of the CPN-Maoist, which boycotted the election, had barred the voters from reaching the polling centers. However, District Election office informed that 77 ballots have been cast under the Proportional Representation system – by government employees and security personnel deployed at the polling centers.
Santosh Budhamagar, former Maoist lawmaker in the constituency-2, led the group that prohibited the voters at Thawang to exercise their voting rights. Only 30 voters had collected their voting identity cards from the polling centers with 1,878 registered electorates. Meanwhile, the UCPN (Maoist) candidate from the constituency, Onsari Ghartimagar has registered a complaint against the CPN -Maoist for barring the voters from taking part in the polling process.
She has demanded reelection in the place, informed Election Officer Naryan Prasad Sharma. Rest of the district, however, witnessed 55 percent turnout. The district is divided in two constituencies. There were 41,886 voters in the constituency-1 and 52,551 voters in constituency-2. The CPN-Maoist cadres had stopped former lawmaker Barman Budha, Magarat Rajya Samiti member of the UCPN (Maoist), Mausam Rokamagar, UCPN (Maoist) Thawang VDC coordinator Gris Pun Magar and former Maoist combatant Bin Prasad Pun Magar among others while they were on their way to cast their votes. CPN-Maoist Thawang VDC in-charge, Jaya Prakash Rokamagar, admitted that his party had deployed youths to bar the voters from casting vote in the VDC. “We had mobilized our cadres across the VDC to persuade the voters to eschew voting. Now, our “zero vote” policy has become successful,” he said.
The VDC , which has been a bastion of the communists for long, had also witnessed zero voting in 1981 general election and 1997 local body election. Magarat Rajya Samiti member of the UCPN (Maosit), Mausam Rokamagar, who had retuned to Thawang from Kathmandu to cast vote, could not use his voting right. “We traveled back to Thawang form the capital even during the time of transport strike. But all our efforts have been wasted. They threatened us with dire consequences if we participated in the polls” Rokamagar said. “The election will conclude today. If the friends from the UCPN (Maoist) continue to turn a deaf ear to our demands, we do not rule out the possibility of bloodshed,” warned Budha. Meanwhile, UCPN (Maoist) candidate from Rolpa constituency-1, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, took a strong expection to the Baidya-led party for barring the voters from using their voting rights in Thawang. The government had deployed 30 army personnel, 21 Armed Police Force as well as 16 Nepal Police personnel for the poll security at Thawang.
CPN-M for dialogue
KATHMANDU, NOV 20 – After people defied the general strike called by the CPN-Maoist -led alliance and voted on Tuesday, the poll-opposing parties called for fresh consensus among the parties. The bloc said the second Constituent Assembly (CA) election cannot guarantee a new constitution and end the current political stalemate. “There is no alternative to negotiations and cooperation among the political parties,” a statement issued by the alliance here on Tuesday said. The Mohan Baidya-led alliance, however, claimed that its poll boycott was ‘largely successful’ and accused the government of holding an ‘authoritative election ’ by abusing state power and repressing the voice of the dissidents.
CPN-M Vice-chairman CP Gajurel said the election has further taken the country towards a crisis. In the statement, CPN-M Secretary Dev Gurung said the anti- election campaign remained successful despite the government’s widespread repression on the ‘peaceful protests of the parties protesting the politics of exclusion.’ Asked if his party takes the responsibility of bomb attacks on innocent citizens, Gajurel said his party has no policy of attacking citizens. He accused ‘other elements’ of conspiring to tarnish his party’s image.