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Army for polls

Sunday, June 25th, 2017
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President Bidya Bhandari on Sunday officially permitted the government to deploy the Nepal Army for the second phase of local elections on 28 June.

After a serious of explosives were set off last week, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had sought the President’s approval to deploy the Army, and the National Security Council had also recommended the same.

But even as President Bhandari approved the government’s decision on Sunday, another explosion in Nawalparasi targeted an election rally by the CPN (Maoist-Centre). Three people were injured.

No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion, but police suspect the Nepal Communist Party (CPN), a breakaway faction of the Maoists led by Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplav’ which is boycotting the elections.

Last week, an improved explosive allegedly planted by the Bipalv Maoists, exploded at the house of a CPN (Maoist-Centre) mayoral candidate in Kailali while former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal was just 1 km away.

The Biplav Maoists have declared to disrupt local elections, the second phase of which is taking place in 35 districts of three provinces on Wednesday.

Apart from the Biplav Maoists, the Madhes-based RJPN has also boycotted local elections, but many RJPN cadres are contesting elections independently, putting pressure on the party to not obstruct polls.

The Biplav Maoist cadres are also independent candidates in Thabang – a village in Rolpa district where no one turned out to cast their votes in the last Constituent Assembly elections. They have also formed electoral alliances with Nepali Congress and other parties.

The first phase of local elections was held on 14 May without mobilising the army.

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