KATHMANDU, May 12: In blatant violation of the election code of conduct, the government on Friday doled out over Rs 150 million for victims of the Kailali incident. A cabinet meeting decided to provide the money to the victims of the Kailali violence, according to government spokesperson Surendra Bahadur Karki.
During the Kailali incident that took place in 2015, a deadly clash between Tharu protesters and security personnel claimed the lives of seven Nepal Police personnel and a toddler and property worth millions was destroyed.
Spokesperson Karki said that the aid was distributed to compensate the victims, on the basis of the recommendations of the local administration.
Agitators had started fires at Fulbari Resort, Fulbari FM, Niru Traders, Mira Furniture, the office of the Tharu Kalyankari Sabha and several other properties owned by local in Tikapur.
The timing of the aid distribution has draw criticism from the Election Commission and opposition parties. They have taken it as an effort to influence the elections. “Such a decision should not have been taken at a time when the country is about to go to elections. More importantly, we are in a phase of poll silence,” said Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav.
He said the EC will take a decision over the issue on Saturday. “We have already drawn the attention of the political parties to the election code of conduct. They had given a commitment to abide by the code,” said CEC Yadav.
The election code bars the government and the political parties from any act that will influence elections. “Obviously, the distribution of money ahead of elections is a glaring breach of the code. This should be stopped right now,” said Yadav.
Meanwhile, the government has also formed a committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Federal Affairs Bijay Gachchhedar to increase the number of local units in Province-2.
Minister for Defense Balkrishna Khand and Minister for Law Ajay Shankar Nayak are members of the committee.
Spokesman Karki said, “They will come up with a proposal within five days.”
The government had finalized 744 local units across the country, replacing the erstwhile 217 municipalities and 3,117 village development committees.
Disgruntled over the number of local units, the Madhes-centric parties have been protesting against the government.
Election experts, however, say increasing the number of local units in between two elections is a violation of the election code. “Increasing the number of local units between two elections is unjust for those who cast their votes in first phase. Indeed, it amounts to discrimination between voters,” said former chief election commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety.
Likewise, the government has also restructured the Nepal Army without affecting its existing strength.