Bharatpur re-polling: mockery of democracy
As intended by the Nepali Congress and the Maoist-Centre, the election results of Bharatpur Metropolitan City went in their favour. Renu Dahal, the common candidate of NC-MC and daughter of Maoist chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal won the mayoral post by a thin margin of 203 votes.
While Renu won with 43,127 votes her rival, Devi Gyawali of CPN-UML got 42,924 votes.
However, the Maoist-Centre and the NC had to apply all measures to clinch the victory for Renu. The two ruling parties not only abused power and resources but also resorted to illicit work of tearing the ballot papers when they were sure that Renu was going to lose the election to Gyawali.
Two Maoist cadres—Madhu Neupane Drona Shivakoti tore 90 ballot papers when 1800 votes of Ward 19 were counted as per a conspiracy hatched in the direct instruction of Attorney General Raman Shrestha on June May 28. The two Maoist cadres tore the ballot papers so that Renu would get votes from NC supporters in the re-polling and their plan worked. Gyawali, who was leading by 784 votes when the counting of 1800 votes of Ward No 19 had finished, led just by 104 votes when the counting of the votes of the same ward finished after re-polling . Renu got more votes than Gaywali in Ward 20 whose counting was halted following the incident of May 28.
Clearly, the NC leadership exerted pressure on its supporters to vote in fvaour of Renu while the Maoist managed to buy votes from the UML supporters. The fact that Gaywali received 161 less votes than the UML candidate of the chairman of Ward 19 proved this allegation.
The returning officers and others except the police officers had provided an opportunity for the two Maoist cadres to tear the ballot papers.
During the first phase poll, many NC supporters had not voted for Renu as they were angry with the party leadership for withdrawing NC's mayoral candidate from Bharatpur, because they though NC candidates would easily win the mayoral post.
But in the re-polling held last week the NC supporters voted for Renu and making her win possible.
The alliance between the democratic NC and communist Maoist-Centre was itself unnatural. When the cadres of ruling Maoist-Centre tore the ballot papers with ill intention of forcing the Election Commission to hold re-elections, and NC supported the illicit acts, the people have taken it as a mockery of democracy. Of course, the Bharatpur case serves an example where democracy suffered a defeat from the hands of the party which claims to be the messiah of democracy in Nepal.