KATHMANDU: Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has faced flak for violating the election code of conduct by appealing for votes for a candidate, contesting the National Assembly by-election, during the silence period.
The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday indirectly mentioned in a press statement that Oli violated the election code of conduct by asking to vote for Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, a candidate for the National Assembly by-election in Bagmati being held on Thursday.
The EC has also warned of legal action against those defying the election code of conduct, myRepublica.com reported.
The EC said that despite its warning, some people have been issuing statements in violation of the election code of conduct.
Some media outlets have also violated the poll code by projecting the winner and interviewing people, the EC said.
The poll panel warned that it could take action against individuals and institutions for violating the poll code.
Oli, the Chairman of CPN-UML, in his appeal had asked electorates to vote for Thapa, saying his victory would boost the communist movement.
Oli said party representatives, who had taken the oath to safeguard the party's interest, should not vote for anyone other than Thapa.
The Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-Maoist Centre have also condemned Oli for soliciting votes for Thapa during the silence period (three days before the election) and have urged the EC to take action against him.
During the silence period, no active campaigning for the candidates is allowed.
NC Chief Whip Balkrishan Khand told media persons after the NC Parliamentary Party Working Committee meeting that the EC should punish those responsible for violating the poll code, no matter how powerful that person might be, Kathmandu Post reported.
CPN-MC Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal also issued a press release condemning the prime minister's appeal.
He said that the appeal issued by the prime minister during the silence period not only violated the poll code but also raised questions about the fairness of the by-election.
The by-election is being held as Thapa was expelled as a lawmaker from the National Assembly on a complaint by CPN-MC.
The CPN-MC had complained to the Parliament Secretariat that Thapa had defected to UML after the nullification of the unification between the CPN-MC and UML.