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Re-polling in Ward 19

Sunday, July 30th, 2017
bharatpur 19

The Election Commission will announce a new date for re-polling in Ward 19 of Bharatpur, where the NC is the dominant party and is backing Maoist candidates. Pic: Om Astha Rai 

The Supreme Court (SC) on Sunday ordered re-polling in Ward 19 of Bharatpur Metropolitan City of Chitwan district.

After postponing hearings on a writ petition that challenged the Election Commission (EC)’s decision to re-conduct polls in Bharatpur-19, a joint bench of justices Om Prakash Mishra and Purushottam Bhandari finally handed down a verdict that could benefit Maoist mayoral candidate Renu Dahal.

Renu, Maoist Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s daughter, was trailing behind UML’s mayoral candidate Devi Prasad Gyawali by 784 votes when Maoist cadre reportedly tore up 90 ballot papers cast in Ward 19.

Maoist mayoral candidate Renu Dahal

Maoist mayoral candidate Renu Dahal

UML urged the EC to declare torn votes ‘invalid’ and count remaining votes. But the EC, apparently under pressure from the Maoist Chair Dahal who was Prime Minister at that time, ordered re-polling in Bharatpur-19

Two petitioners, including one UML candidate, filed a writ against the EC’s decision at the SC. The Apex Court took two months to rule on this case, finally staying the EC’s decision.

Now, the EC will announce a new date for re-polling in Bharatpur-19, where the NC is the dominant party and is backing Maoist candidates. Maoists hope to make up for their vote deficit from Bharatpur-19, and surpass UML when votes from Bharatpur-20 are also counted.

After 90 ballot papers of Ward 19 were torn up on 28 May, counting of votes of Bharatpur 20 was also suspended. Ballot papers cast by voters in Bharatpur 20 have been kept inside a sealed covered hall, where vote counting was underway.

UML leaders have slammed the SC’s verdict, saying it will encourage political goons to tear up ballot papers in future elections if their candidates appear to be losing. Two Maoist cadres Madhu Neupane and Drona Shiwakoti who were arrested and charged of tearing up ballot papers were released on a bail within a week.

UML mayoral candidate Devi Prasad Gyawali

UML mayoral candidate Devi Prasad Gyawali

In Bharatpur, Maoist Chair Dahal had thrown all his weight behind his daughter’s candidacy and even persuaded NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba to withdraw Dinesh Koirala’s candidacy, flying down to campaign for Renu Dahal. UML leaders claim that Maoist cadres tore up ballot papers under a clear instructions from their party boss.

“That night, Maoist cadres took an unusually long dinner break, called around and tore up ballot papers,” UMl candidate Devi Gyawali had told Nepali Times two weeks ago. “I am sure they tore up ballot papers only after they got clear instructions from Kathmandu.”

Maoist candidate Renu Dahal dismissed Gyawali’s claims, and maintained that ballot papers were torn up in a scuffle that broke out between the two sides.

Read also:

Metro without mayor 

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One Response to “Re-polling in Ward 19”

  1. Shyam Thapa on Says:

    I am sure the voters of Ward No. 19 will vote for Devi Prasad Gyawali although they are predominantly Congress supporters. Voters of Ward No. 19 of Bharatpur Municipality are not fools to do whatever Sher Bahadur asks them to do. They are not illiterate or uncivilized persons any more. It is really a disgrace that Congress is supporting Maoist which are of totally different philosophy. So voters of Ward No. 19 must come to their senses and do what is right. Teach these irrational leaders a lesson this and vote for Devi Prasad. Truth will always prevail.

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