Minister Romi Gauchan accused of distributing money to voters

- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 13, 2017-

Minister for Commerce Romi Gauchan has been dragged into a controversy for allegedly distributing money to voters in Mustang district against the election code of conduct.

Tension gripped Jomsom, the district headquarters of Mustang, since Saturday morning after locals started protesting against the minister’s act.

Locals have enforced vehicular strike in various places along the Korala road in the protest.

Political parties and independent candidates vying in tomorrow’s local level elections, except Nepali Congress, have flared up the protest.  Minister Gauchan belongs to the Nepali Congress.

The vehicular movement along the Jomsom-Muktinath road section has come to a grinding halt due to the protest. As a result, pilgrims heading to holy Muktinath Temple are left stranded on the road.

Minister Gauchan had reached Tetang Village in Dalomey Village Council to meet NC cadres on Friday. Locals, upon knowing that the minister was visiting door-to-door and distributing money during midnight, caught the minister and presented him before Jhusang police.

Immediately after he was taken to police, cadres of UML, CPN (Maoist Centre), RPP and independent candidates picketed the area.

Minister Gauchan was brought to Jomsom with police protection last night.

CPN-UML former lawmaker Chandra Bahadur Gurung said that Minister Gauchan was caught red- handed while distributing money to the voters.

“From last week, Gauchan has been distributing money to buy votes although he is a minister,” said Gurung.

Gurung said that all the political parties would continue their agitation unless Minister Gauchan is punished for violating the election code of conduct.

Following the protest, an emergency meeting of security chiefs was convened and reached a conclusion to adopt stern security measures in view of Sunday’s elections.

Chief District Officer Bhimraj Pokhrel said that investigation was underway in connection with Minister Gauchan distributing money for votes.

It is learnt that Minister Gauchan has told security agencies that he was in the district to visit Korala area bordering with China.

NC cadres in Mustang have refuted the allegations against Minister Gauchan saying that it was a ploy to smudge the NC leader after opposition felt that they would lose the elections.

District Administration Office has called a meeting with all the political parties in the district with the intent to reach an understanding and allow smooth convention of elections on Sunday. 

Published: 13-05-2017 12:33

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