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Kathmandu Valley voters head to polls to choose local representatives


ANI Asia
The voting is underway in 537 polling stations across Nepal to elect 52 representatives for various posts that had remained vacant in the provincial assembly of the Himalayan nation.
A total of 82 polling stations has been set to elect a representative for House of Representative, whereas 174 polling stations have been set up to vote for members for the provincial council along with additional 281 polling stations to elect representatives for the local levels.
The polling across the Himalayan country began by 7 a.m. (local time) on Saturday and would last till 5 p.m. (local time), according to the Election Commission of Nepal.
"Voting is underway peacefully. It started exactly at 7 AM (Local Time). The poll started with an elderly person aged 74 years cast his vote," Roshan Raj Aryal, an election observer stationed at the polling station in Saraswati English School, Bhaktapur, Nepal told ANI.
A total of 337 candidates, including 253 from political parties and 84 independent ones, are contesting in the fray which also is regarded as the measure to check the popularity of incumbent government under KP Sharma Oli's prime ministership.
"We are just exercising our voting rights. We must complete the duty of being a citizen of the country. We do have hopes and expect something to be done for the people by the local authorities," Prakash Dhoju, a voter from Bhaktapur told ANI after casting his vote.
A total of 454, 114 people are eligible to vote in the by-elections that is being held in 37 different districts of the nation.
A total of 71,871 voters are expected to cast their ballots in Kaski; 2, 45,015 voters in Bhaktapur; 35, 184 voters in Baglung; and 68,719 voters in Dang.
However, in an untoward incident, an explosive device detonated near a polling station in Kaski District as voters cued to vote in the elections earlier in the day.
However, the Nepali Congress, which has the opportunity to grab the seats it had lost in the last election, does not have any better prospects, given its lethargic performance as an opposition as well as controversies of its own, say analysts.
While the by-elections won't change the existing dynamics of the government, they do help cement existing values and rebuild trust among voters, and provide a gauge of votes before the next major elections.

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First Published: Nov 30 2019 | 2:56 PM IST

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