Annapurna (Kaski): Geographical adversity in Gandaki province is likely to be a challenge for the completion of the House of Representatives and Provincial Assembly elections. The elections are to be held on the 20th of November.
Snowfall has already started in Manang, Mustang and North Gorkha. According to the Provincial Security Coordination Committee, the challenge is seen in the places where it snows. As a result, there is a compulsion to transport ballot boxes from 30 polling stations by helicopter, including 22 in Gorkha, five in Manang and three in Myagdi.
At the province-level security meet held in Pokhara on Friday, the unhealthy competition between political parties and candidates was also discussed as a challenge. Security of election staff, administrative errors of staff, difficulty in transportation of ballot boxes due to geographical difficulty and weather were also pointed out challenges in view of election security.
In Gandaki Province, there are 196 candidates standing for the House of Representatives seats while 235 candidates are in the fray for the Provincial Assembly. There are 22 and 29 women candidates for the House of Representatives and the Provincial Assembly respectively.
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Fanindramani Pokharel, said that the challenge has increased because the licensed weapons have not yet been delivered. “Only around 1,800 licensed weapons have been handed over. The rest of the weapons have not arrived”, he said. Sale and distribution of alcohol will be prohibited two weeks ago while the border is sealed 72 hours in advance.
Member-secretary of the committee Badrinath Adhikari said that around 18,000 security personnel will be deployed for the elections in the province.
Ruila Bhanjang in Gorkha of Gandaki, Customs point of Nawalpur and Korola transit of Mustang will be sealed. However, the northern border remains closed since the Corona virus pandemic.
On the occasion, Home Secretary Binod Prakash Singh instructed the security agencies to take all precautions to make the elections clean, fair and rigged. Security chiefs of 10 districts participated in the meet.
The meet was organized to discuss the security strategy, strengths and challenges in relation to the November 20 elections.