Major English and Nepali newspapers published from Kathmandu on Wednesday have given priority to the announcement of preliminary results from vote counting of the third phase of local level elections held on Monday in eight districts of Province 2. Likewise, they have given prominence to other contemporary political issues including Parliament meeting, which endorsed seven bills on a single day yesterday. The Election Commission’s statements about recent Cabinet expansion and correction of the voter turnout in Sunday polls have also received attention.
Congress leading preliminary vote counts
Final results have not yet been announced in any of the 136 local units of Province 2 that held elections on Monday, but the vote counting has begun in most of the places and all newspapers have given prominence to reports about preliminary results.
The data obtained by newspapers about the number of units in which a particular party is leading are different; however, they all have reported that the ruling Nepali Congress is in the lead. Naya Patrika lead story says the party was lagging behind main opposition CPN-UML in the first and second phases of local level elections, but it is far ahead of the UML in preliminary results of the vote count.
As of yesterday night, the Congress is leading the count in 43 local units, whereas the UML is on the top of the chart in 24 places only. Following these two parties are CPN-Maoist Centre, Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal and Nepal Democratic Forum.
Despite the lead, the Nepali Congress will not overtake the UML in the overall nationwide results of the local level elections, UML senior leader Jhala Nath Khanal has told the paper.
House passes law on local level government, amendment to Education Act
Parliament on Monday endorsed seven bills on a single day yesterday as Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar prolonged the meeting for nine hours, according to media reports.
Annapurna Post says the Speaker had called two meetings on the day of public holiday yesterday as she is scheduled to leave for China on a week-long visit today. Further, she is under the pressure to endorse various other bills as the House has just one month before it expires a day before nominations will be filed for upcoming House of Representatives elections scheduled for November and December.
Gorkhapatra anchor story says the endorsed bill includes one on functioning of newly elected local level governments. The law was necessary to activate bodies of local governments including executive, legislative and judiciary, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the meeting also endorsed the ninth amendment to the Education Act and some lawmakers have feared that it will further ruin the public education sector, reports The Kathmandu Post anchor story.
Indian Embassy tried to influence judiciary’s decision
It has been revealed that the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu had tries to influence the justice delivery process regarding a case involving its citizen around three years ago, reports the lead story in Annapurna Post.
In response, the Bhaktapur District Court has told the Embassy via Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the court does not welcome such intervention in the future. The full statement of the verdict was delivered on Monday and it also contains a comment against the Embassy.
The report informs that on August 11, 2014, the Indian Embassy had written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking “for necessary cooperation to release deposited amount” by its national named Sanjay Krishna Salil. The letter, which has been photographed in the front page of the paper, reads, “It is requested to direct the concerned authorities to kindly look into the matter and take necessary action as deemed fit.. The follow-up of this case may please be forwarded to the Embassy.”
The Indian national was earlier arrested in connection for foreign currency smuggling.
Private investors trying to capture Taragaon hotel land
Two private investors, one each from Nepal and India, are eyeing the multi-billion-rupee land of Taragaon Regency Hotel Limited owned by the government, reveals the lead story of Republica.
The report says the government is on the verge of losing all its stake in the Hyatt Hotel as it had a 39 per cent stake in 1992, but now its stake is only about nine percent.
Radeshyam Saraf and his family from India and Ram Lal Shrestha and his family from Nepal now own most of the shares in the company, the report says.
It is interesting to note that the company has never earned a profit and never distributed any dividend to its shareholders in past 16 years. “Acquiring shares of a loss-making company by the families is a riddle for many. They have been continuously acquiring the shares and their intention is mainly to capture the 150 ropani of land,” the report reads quoting government-run Taragaon Bikas Samiti Chairman Narad Luintel.
Election Commission tells parties to cancel festive tea parties
It has been a tradition for political parties of Nepal to organize tea parties in the run-up to major festivals including Dashain, Tihar and Chhath. But the Election Commission this year has urged them not to organise such events as they will be against the code of conduct implemented for the elections of House of Representatives and Provincial Assembly scheduled for November 26 and December 7, reports Nepal Samacharpatra.
Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav says such functions to be organised after the announcement of poll dates might involve political purposes and hence go against the code, according to the report.
Just yesterday, the biggest party in the House, Nepali Congress, had decided to hold such parties in each of 330 provincial constituencies targeting the polls.