Election authority recommends action against Madhav NepalIn his constituency, Nepal said people there would get jobs abroad free of charge.
Amid criticisms that the Election Commission shies from taking stern actions against the candidates breaching the election laws and code of conduct, the election authority on Thursday recommended legal action against CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal.
In a first for the November elections, the Election Commission on Thursday wrote to the District Police Office, Rautahat to take action against Nepal, who is a candidate for the House of Representatives from Rautahat-1, as per the Election (Offence and Punishment) Act.
Nepal, during his election campaign on Wednesday, had assured his voters that they would get job opportunities abroad for free. The commission on Thursday morning sought a written clarification from Nepal. However, within hours it recommended the police for the action saying that its investigation found that there was no confusion that the statement was made by him.
In the video, Nepal is seen addressing a mass gathering in his home district and assuring the villagers that they would get job opportunities abroad without paying for airfare and visa process etc, for which Nepali youths generally have to pay hundreds of thousands of rupees.
Citing a provision of the Act that bars candidates from being involved in any activities to influence voters, the Commission has said Nepal’s assurance for free jobs had breached the election law. “The district police have the authority for the investigation and file case at the district court,” Guru Wagle, assistant spokesperson at the commission, told the Post. “The commission has made the recommendations; now it is up to the local police to take up the matter.” Once guilty of election offence, the person is liable to two years of jail term and fine up to Rs 100,000 or both.
The Election Commission has already sought clarification with CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Pukar Bam from the Rastriya Swatantra Party among others for allegedly flouting the election code of conduct.
The election code of conduct for the upcoming House of Representatives and provincial assembly elections has come into force from September 28.
The commission has the authority to book the candidates who violate the code of conduct. Clause 46(1) of the code says that those violating it can be subjected to a fine of Rs100,000 or cancellation of their candidacies as per the Election Commission Act. “The commission can take the actions on its own if it is related to the violation of the election code of conduct,” said Wagle. “However, when it comes to the breach of the Election (Offence and Punishment) Act, it is the court that decides the action based on the investigation from the police.”