Nidhi’s wee-hour tweet sparks concerns over election prospects

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Apr 18, 2017-

A tweet in the wee hours of Monday by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi offered the fodder for criticism the whole day, forcing him to post a series of tweets clarifying his position. 

“The EC & security arrangement aren’t sufficient; political settlements through dialogues among the parties is must for successful elections,” Nidhi tweeted early in the morning, apparently at around 2:41am according to his Twitter timeline.

His tweet received various responses, with a majority of people criticising the home minister. Some, however, seconded his opinion on the need for dialogue. 

Event the Election Commission (EC) came up with a statement on Monday evening, saying that its attention has been drawn to DPM and Home Minister’s tweet and that it was amazed at the statement, as “preparations for elections are in full swing”.

All preparations related to polls have been completed and as per instructions from the government, the commission is ready to hold elections in single phase, the EC asserted.     

Nidhi’s tweet at a time when some are casting doubt on the possibility of polls on May 14 added to confusion. 

With the agitating Madhes-based parties’ vowing to disrupt polls, security has become a major cause for concern. 

DPM Nidhi later in the day posted another tweet, clarifying his position. “Preparations of the EC and security arrangements have been excellently completed. This is not just enough for any elections. The participation of political parties is a pre-requisite for any elections--so need initiations and dialogue [sic],” he tweeted.

When asked, senior Home Ministry officials defended what Nidhi was saying through his tweet.  

“Preparations undertaken by the Home Ministry and Elections Commission only are not enough to ensure local level polls given the new emerging situation after the Madhesi Morcha rejected the second constitution amendment proposal,” a ministry official told the Post. “[DPM Nidhi’s] tweet reflects the need for a credible environment for polls by brining the Morcha on board.”

Home Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi said that it would be easier for holding elections smoothly if the Morcha participates in the polls. “As far as we are concerned, we are fully prepared for the elections,” he added.

Home Ministry Spokesperson Bal Krishna Panthi, however, said that “the ministry can’t respond to his personal tweet but the ministry is fully prepared to hold elections smoothly even in Province 2.” 

In the wake of the agitating parties’ announcement to foil pools, Province 2 has been categorised as sensitive.

Constitutional lawyer Bipin Adhikari responded to Nidhi’s tweet: “Problems in dialogues or security are ur responsibility, sir. Elections must go ahead. It is not a negotiable provision in the Constitution [sic].” Advocate Dipendra Jha tweeted: “Home minister is right in his arguments that no more violence & killing in Terai, political dialogue is the only way to resolve crisis [sic].” 

An aide to Nidhi said that he neither proposed poll deferral nor did he mean election security was a cause for concern. 

“He only meant that political environment is key to timely polls and participation of the Morcha would make it easier,” he said. 

Published: 18-04-2017 08:01

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