The Chief Election Commissar is a busy hombre these days. With the intention of cracking down on violations of the election Code of Conduct, he is tied up firing off letters demanding explanations from candidates found to be contravening guidelines. In fact, he has been so busy issuing clarifications that he has no time to enforce any of them.
In order to help the EC to remind candidates and parties about the dos and don’ts of election campaigning, the Ass assists by recapping below some of the salient points of Clause 46(1) of the Election Commission Act:
Don’t: Character assassination on social media is banned with immediate effect. Candidates are advised to also desist from actual assassination of rivals.
Do: Under Nepal’s democratic system, mass murderers, plunderers, pillagers, rapists and those accused of other minor offences can campaign openly in broad daylight hours.
Don’t: Candidates who have partaken meeting allowances in the past 40 years are barred from either standing or running in elections.
Do: Those who have embezzled billions in airport contracts, telecom licenses or in inaugurating highways that never got built may hit the campaign trail along those same non-existent highways.
Don’t: It has come to the EC’s notice that a certain candidate wore a baseball cap with his party’s election symbol during a rally in Gorkha-2. The Commissar has asked the candidate in question to furnish an appropriate clarification within 24 hours, failing which the aforementioned cap will be confiscated forthwith.
Do: Candidates from the ruling 5-party collision, may be draped with 25 kg marigold garlands provided they are not allergic to pollen.
Don’t: The EC takes umbrage at the #NoNotAgain campaign, saying the hashtag contains a double negative that could confuse voters.
Do: Even so, established parties are allowed to embellish, exaggerate, falsify, fake, tamper, or lie about their achievements during the last 30 years in office on Facebook and TikTok as long as the jingle has a catchy tune. To set an example, the EC posted on YouTube a melodious song composed by its own talented storekeeper exhorting Nepalis to vote.
Don’t: Candidates are not allowed to have stickers with party symbols at the back of the cars that they have hired from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Do: But the Firstest Lady is allowed to threaten voters to cast ballots only for a Better Half who flies in on a helicopter.
Don’t: Candidates found ringing temple bells will be given a stern warning about noise pollution. If they insist on ringing out the old and ring in the new, they will be rusticated on the spot. Playing madal or other traditional percussion instruments is in contravention of the Election Code of Conduct Article (13), Clause (1) and Sub-clause (d).
Do: Parties are allowed to use fleets of Boleros to blare their anthems through loudspeakers. The Co-Finance Minister can take part in a Tharu Peacock Dance even if he is making an ass of himself.