KATHMANDU, March 20: Debates have erupted after the Election Commission (EC) has demanded resignation of people’s representatives who are filing their candidacy for the next term.
The candidates for the upcoming local level polls have been asked to register their candidacy 0n March 24 and 25.
As per the poll body, those local representatives vying for the post for the next term have to resign before filing their candidacy. In this case, it is apparent that the general public will be barred from acquiring services at the local levels in the absence of officials.
The ruling party, Nepali Congress (NC) has supported the poll body’s decision while the main opposition party, CPN-UML, has opposed it.
“If any lawmakers file his/her candidacy for a certain post , he/she has to resign from his/her post. It is similar in the case of the Speaker of the House. So, it is natural for the candidates of local level polls as well,” said Ramesh Lekhak, central member of the NC.
However, Vishnu Rimal, deputy-general secretary of UML, maintained that if the Prime Minister does not have to resign while being a candidate for a certain post, it should be the same for the candidates of the local level polls. “Besides, there is a provision of holding elections two months before the term of local representatives expires for smooth service delivery,” Rimal further stated.
On his part, leader Lekhak stated that the role of Prime Minister and local representatives is different during the election. “Aren’t the Prime Ministers and Ministers the ones who conduct elections? How can a state function without a government?”
“Besides, these people are responsible for maintaining security during the election and conducting various other administrative works, so they need not resign,” he further added.
However, Rimal is not convinced with Lekhak’s arguments. “If a chief secretary cannot perform the tasks of a PM, then how can a ward secretary perform the tasks of a ward chairperson?” Rimal questioned. “Besides, it is undeniable that the service delivery must not be hampered in any condition,” he said.
Likewise, if it is to avoid misuse of the post during the election, it can be avoided. “During the election, a PM is not allowed to travel in helicopters and carry flags or hold election campaigns among others. Similar provisions can be made for local representatives,” Rimal argued.
Similarly, Nilkantha Upreti, former chief election commissioner has also expressed his dissatisfaction regarding the poll body’s decision regarding the matter of service delivery. “There are as many as 753 local governments, 7753 members of the legislative assembly and 753 courts. Concerns on their service delivery are appropriate,” Upreti said. “But, the decision is also appropriate in the matter of maintaining equality among candidates,” he further said. “Going to polls while holding the post certainly has some advantages.”
“It is not a new rule that a government official cannot file his/her candidacy while holding the office. Only independent people are allowed to file their candidacy and if any government officials holding offices are found vying for election, their candidacy is considered invalid,” Upreti added.