Migration, terror blamed for low voter turnoutRolpa recorded the lowest voter turnout among 32 districts where the polling for the federal and provincial elections took place on Sunday. Only 55.09 percent of registered voters turned up at the polling centres in the district.
Rolpa recorded the lowest voter turnout among 32 districts where the polling for the federal and provincial elections took place on Sunday. Only 55.09 percent of registered voters turned up at the polling centres in the district.
During the recently held local level elections, Rolpa, the cradle of the Maoist revolution, saw 70 percent turnout while the figure for the 2013 Constituent Assembly election was 68 percent.
Chief Election Officer for the district Basudev Lal Shrestha pointed out two main reasons for the low turnout—many people leaving the district for long-term and seasonal jobs, and the fear created among voters by the Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN. Shrestha, who is also the district judge, said voters came home from various Nepali and Indian cities during the local level elections. However, many of them did not return for Sunday’s vote.
Some 25,000 people have obtained passport in the district, mainly to leave for the Gulf countries. A similar number of people go to different parts of India including Chandigarh, Himanchal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh to work as labourers and watchmen. Some also travel to Kathmandu to work at brick kilns.
Chief District Officer Dijan Bhattarai said they were not sure whether Thawang would vote amid the CPN threatening the locals not to cast their ballot. Despite the fear, Thawang saw 30 percent turnout on Sunday. People of Thawang had boycotted the second CA polls in 2013.
“Some voters might have refrained from voting due to the fear of the CPN,” said Maoist Centre leader Barshaman Pun, a left alliance candidate who was attacked twice with ambush and gunshots on November 11 and 12 in Rolpa.
(With inputs from the Post’s district correspondent Kashiram Dangi)