Local Level Elections 2017

Vote counting in Bharatpur resumes after 16-hour halt

- Bimal Khatiwada, CHITWAN

May 21, 2017-Vote counting resumed in Bharatpur Metropolitan City after nearly 16 hours on Saturday morning following an all-party agreement. 

The vote counting was put off on Friday evening amid protests from the cadres of the Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) accusing irregularities in the counting. 

The ruling NC and Maoist Centre had forged an electoral alliance in Bharatpur Metropolis before the elections. The Maoist Centre picked Renu Dahal, daughter of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, as the party’s mayoral candidate for Bharatpur, while the NC’s Parwati Shah is vying for the post of deputy mayor. The UML has fielded its candidates Devi Gyawali and Dibya Acharya in the mayoral and deputy mayoral races in the metropolis. 

The dispute ensued after the Election Commission employees completed the counting of votes from Ward 9. 

The protesting cadres claimed that the election commissioner did not unveil the number of valid and invalid votes while making public the data, saying that Dahal, who was leading in the initial count, began trailing due to anomalies in the counting. 

Authorities fear it would take more than two weeks to count votes if the situation continues.  

“Six groups have been involved in vote counting. Only 37,000 votes have been counted in a week,” said Chief District Officer Narayan Prasad Bhatta. A total of 112,741 votes were cast in the metropolis. As per the agreement, an information officer would be assigned to disseminate the details of the vote counting through a one-door system, only required human resources would be deployed for counting and a separate desk for chief and representatives of the political parties would be managed at the vote counting station. 

Likewise, it was agreed to make arrangements to display the total votes received from each group at the desk of political parties and make it public and process data into the computer system. The vote count would be carried out through both ‘top-down and bottom-up’ approaches, the parties have agreed. Currently, the ballot papers of Ward 10 following which ballot papers of Ward 29 would be counted. 

Transparency would be maintained regarding the total number of ballot papers inside a ballot box, invalid votes during the vote counting. 

Nepali Congress Chitwan District President Jit Narayan Shrestha, UML District Chairman Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, CPN (Maoist Centre) leader Narayan Prasad Dahal, RPP District Chairman Badri Timilsina and Rastriya Janamorcha leader Bhaktiram Gautam have signed in the agreement paper.

Published: 21-05-2017 08:10

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