Nepal: Voting commences in 32 districts despite series of acts of disruptions

The voting of the first phase of the federal parliament and provincial assembly elections has commenced in 32 mountain and Hill districts on Sunday despite series of acts of disruptions by the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal (CPN).

According to Election Commission Spokesperson Nawaraj Dhakal, the voting started at the scheduled time and will continue until 5 pm today. The election in the remaining districts has been slated for 7 December.

The EC has appealed to all voters to cast their vote without any fear, as it said all security arrangements had been made.

A total of 702 candidates are in the fray in the first phase elections, while there are the total 3191945 voters. There are a total of 2,919 polling centres and 4,465 polling stations.

Nepal has been witnessing series of bomb explosions for the last two weeks. Poll candidates belonging to the Nepali Congress and the leftist alliance and their supporters have been targeted by the attackers.

Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) identified the Chand-led CPN is behind the series of bomb attacks on poll candidates and their supporters and had instructed the police administration to arrest top leaders of the Chand-led CPN. Police have arrested more than 400 CPN activists as on Friday from various parts of the country for their involvement in anti-election activities.

The main leaders of the CPN went underground and yet carried out a series of bomb attacks during the last two days.

An unidentified gang detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in front of the main gate of CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli’s house in Damak of Jhapa district on early Saturday morning. Oli is a federal parliamentary candidate from Jhapa-5.

A pressure cooker bomb went off outside the house of Shambhu Lal Shrestha, Minister for Livestock Development and Nepali Congress (NC) candidate from Sarlahi constituency-1, at Ranigunj in Lalbandi Municipality-17 on Saturday.

A bomb disposal squad of Nepal Army has defused an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted near the voting centre at Jeevanpur Kormayela Danda in Dhading district on Saturday morning.

A powerful bomb exploded targeting Nepali congress (NC) candidates at Jhirubhangyang in Nawalparasi on Saturday. The bomb was detonated targeting a vehicle carrying NC parliamentary candidate of Nawalparasi constituency-2 Bishnu Karki and provincial candidate Bishnu Lamichhane at around 9 pm on Saturday evening.

A Nepal Army team after defusing an IED planted on the premises of the District Election Office in Nuwakot on Thursday

Earlier on Friday night, a blast occurred at a house of Nepali Congress Jhapa chapter President Uddhav Thapa. Thapa is also a federal parliamentary candidate from Jhapa-2. The blast is learnt to have damaged his vehicle.

In Dhankuta, an IED was detonated targeting Industry Minister and federal parliamentary election candidate Sunil Bahadur Thapa in Saptingtar. The “bucket bomb” exploded on the road near the Fangsuwa stream at Khalsa Chintang Sahid Bhumi Rural Municipality in the district at around 7:30 am on Friday. A pedestrian, Tej Bahadur Paudel, sustained minor injuries in the blast.

An IED went off at the election contact office of the CPN (Maoist Centre) in Mirchaiya-5, Siraha. Police said the explosive-laden pressure cooker exploded at around 3:45 pm on Friday at the building where the Maoist Centre had opened an office for its campaign. No damage has been reported in the explosion.

On Friday, a bomb disposal team of the Nepal Army defused an IED planted at Dumkauli, in East Nawalparasi, targeting the Nepali Congress election publicity office. In Dhading, two IEDs were found at Ghatbesi and Maheshdhovan of Galchhi along the Prithvi Highway. An Army team defused the IEDs.

In Gorkha, an Army team defused explosives that were found in Shreenathkot, Siranchok Rural Municipality.

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