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Panel politics a bad precedent: Khanal

  UML VOTES

THT

CPN-UML leader KP Sharma Oli talking to women leaders before casting vote for the new leadership at the party's ongoing general convention in Kathmandu on Friday.

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: Outgoing CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, who is said to be backing Madhav Kumar Nepal for party chairmanship, expressed his displeasure over the provision of panel-wise polls to elect the party’s 158-member central committee.

“Holding elections on the basis of two distinct panels is a wrong practice. This should not have happened. It will set a bad precedent,” Khanal said while talking to mediapersons after casting his ballot.

Chief election commissioner for the polls Somnath Adhikari ‘Pyasi’ said the panel-wise voting was arranged after the two sides agreed to it.

The delegates will elect 158-member central committee, including 14 office bearers who will remain in office for five years. Six ballot papers were used to cast votes for six categories related to women, Dalits, Janajatis, backward regions, Madhesis and geography.

The voting process that began today was pushed back by more than eight hours due to a delay in getting the ballot papers printed, as the party’s election commission was busy giving final touches to the lists of all the candidates vying for the posts of office bearers and central committee members under different categories.

Pyasi said it would take at least 10 hours for all 2,176 convention delegates to cast their votes. It means that the voting will go on till 3:00am tomorrow.

He said it was planned to start the voting process at 8:00am but they could not do so due to a delay in getting the ballot papers printed on time.

When asked whether the elections would create division within the party, KP Sharma Oli, who is also contesting for party chairmanship, said such a democratic exercise would further consolidate the party.

When asked if he would be able to rope in all the leaders if he won the election, Oli said, “There is no alternative to remaining united. The party will be kept united on the basis of reason and justice.”

Meanwhile, both KP Sharma Oli and Madhav Kumar Nepal expressed confidence that their respective panels would emerge victorious.

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