Nepal Today

Monday, February 25, 2008

Vote will be held killings apart

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 25 Feb: Home Minister Krishna Prasad Shitaula said Monday the controversial 10 April constituent assembly election will be held as scheduled even as he was receiving first reports from districts of widespread violence during filing for nominations.
At least three persons were killed and 200 others others were injured in police firings when activists loyal to a three-party terai front prevented candidates from filing their nominations at district headquarters in the midst of an indefinite anti-election strike that entered its 13th day Wednesday.
The front is demanding right to self-determination and provincial rule for the terai —a virtual declaration of independence from the kingdom founded by Prithvi Narayan Shah the Great 238 years ago by uniting principalities as a time when British imperialism was on a expanding in South Asia.
Altogether 2128 candidates filed nominations in 74 districts, except Mohottari, and 121 candidates filed nominations for 10 seats in Kathmandu from 10 in the morning to five in the afternoon, the Election Commission.
Direct elections are being held for 240 seats for the constituent assembly.
Nominations were filed amid shootings, bombings, sit-ins and curfew on the 13th day an indefinite protest by a three-party terai front demanding self-determination and provincial rule.
The demands have been rejected by the government of seven parties, including Maoists.
Candidates flew by helicopter to register their nominations as others filed nominations through fax messages to avoid obstructions.
Madhav Kumar Nepal, Prachanda and Prakash Man Singh filed nominations from Kathmandu. Conservative RPP also filed nominations from all 10 constituencies in the capital although the party lent support to the Madesh movement.
Prachanda said after filing his nomination,” People’s victory journey has started from a new height. Nobody can stop this. There’s no problem of Madesh people. Even now door is open for talks. They Nepal Army should be deployed along with the PLA with understanding should it be required for election."
But he emphasized its not necessary now.
This is not the first time Prachanda has called for the deployment of the PLA, or a military wing of a ruling party, with the Army for state security duty—unheard of anywhere in the world.
Home minister Krishna Prasad Shitaula said talks failed with the front because the alliance wanted the poll rescheduled.
"Government was very flexible. We are committed to hold elections on 10 April." Shitaula told reporters.
‘They suddenly came up with a new demand. They demanded an amendment in the constitution with the convening of parliament. This was a new demand,” he revealed.
Curfews have been slapped in towns where police resorted to firing, including Rajbiraj and Inaruwa.
Two persons were also injure din firings in Nawalparasi after demonstrators breaking prohibitory orders clashed with clash police.
Curfew was slapped on Jaleshwor, Mohottari where 10 persons were injured in firings and clashes; the house of a district court judge, an election presiding officer, was torched and vehicle damaged.
Two persons were injured in attacks by supporters on Limbuwan region in east Nepal as well.
RPP-Nepal has also boycotted elections along with supporters of monarchy in Nepali Congress taking the party that has just united in 2007 again towards another split.
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