Darchula, East Rukum voters at a loss

  • Elections 2017
- MANOJ BADU, HARI GAUTAM, Darchula / East Rukum

Nov 8, 2017-

While political parties are busy in door-to-door campaigns in Darchula and East Rukum ahead of the federal and provincial elections, many voters in the districts are oblivious about the voting process. Darchula, which is in Province 7, and East Rukum of Province 6 go to the polls on November 26. 

The voter education programme has been affected after authorities failed to deliver voter education materials in the district on time. According to the authoritie, it will take another three days before those materials reach Darchula. 

The District Education Office (DEO) said that they would start training voter educators after the voter education materials arrive in the district. Chief Election Officer Rajendra Nepal said they had already appointed volunteers for the purpose. “We could not start voter education programme earlier due to lack of voter education materials,” said Nepal. 

According to the Election Commission policy, one volunteer should be appointed in each voting centre to provide voter education a month ahead of the election. Information Officer of the DEO Aansingh Daga said that the voter education materials would arrive in the district in a day or two. “We are making preparations to conduct voter education programmes in the district after November 12,” he said. 

There are 129 voting centres in Darchula district. The District Administration Office has listed 19 voting centres under “high sensitive” and 25 under “sensitive” categories. Chief District Officer Janardan Gautam said they had completed security arrangements in the district after evaluating risk.

Many voters in East Rukum said that the election employees and volunteers have not visited their areas for voter education yet. 

East Rukum witnessed unexpectedly high rate of invalid votes during the previous local level elections. They have been confused how to cast their votes after the concerned authority delayed to conduct voter’s education programme on time. 

“We’re only a few days away from the first phase of federal and provincial elections. But we don’t know the concept of voting,” said Tilak Bahadur Budha of Sisne Rural Municipality. 

Sarbaraj BK, a local man of Bhume Rural Municipality, said that the election office should have mobilised volunteers well in advance to teach people how to stamp on the ballot paper. “I don’t know when the officials will arrive here to teach us,” he said. 

Party candidates, who on campaign trail, are only requesting people to stamp the ballot in the party electoral symbol, said another local, Kopila Roka of Puthauttarganga Rural Municipality-14. “They hardly teach people how to vote properly,” she added. 

Though the District Election Office (DEO) has appointed volunteers to conduct voter education programmes, they have not been trained yet. 

“The volunteers have not reached villages to teach people how to cast their votes. The programme has been delayed as the Election Commission has not delivered the election materials yet,” said District Election Officer Rajesh Prasad Pokharel. The DEO is planning to train volunteers on November 11. 

Published: 08-11-2017 07:35

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