KATHMANDU: Thousands of voters living in Kathmandu but registered in districts outside the capital rushed to their native places to exercise their franchise in Friday's local elections. Outflux of people for the May 13 election and local holidays have caused traffic congestion in and around the Kathmandu Valley.
"It feels like Dashain is already here. The influx of people in vehicles bound to go outlying districts has increased. Even the political parties have reserved vehicles to take voters to districts without any charges which has increased the flow of people in comparison to earlier years. More people are rushing back to the village," Suresh Upreti said as he waited for hours to get out of Kathmandu for the election. As per the estimated data from the Kathmandu Valley Traffic Police Office, at least 50,000 people are vacating Kathmandu temporarily with the arrival of elections and long holidays.
"In less than a week, about half-a-million people have been estimated to drive out of Kathmandu Valley. This comes in the wake of the local election on Friday and long-standing holidays. In last three days alone we recorded outflux of 1,56,000 people," Umeshraj Joshi, SSP at the Kathmandu Valley Traffic Police Office told ANI over the phone. The government has announced that this week's Friday will be a public holiday as the nation would head for voting to elect the new representatives at various local levels.
Following Friday's election, the new decision to give a holiday on Sunday and the public holiday will be given on Monday on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti which has also been added to the number of holidays, encouraging people to go to permanent residences to spend more time. Those who are exercising their right to vote and to elect representatives have thought of choosing a suitable and capable candidate who can bring on changes in the locality.
"I will vote for those who care for the construction of roads, do social service and bring on change in society. Affiliation with a certain political party is a secondary thing. Primary thing is who can really work for people," Narayan Prasad Parajuli told ANI as he waited for hours to catch a bus to get back home. As per the Election Commission, a total of 17,733,723 voters are eligible to exercise their voting right in Friday's election. There are a total of 10,756 polling stations and 21,955 polling booths for it.
A total of 260,000 security personnel have been deployed for the security of the local level elections along with the Nepal Army. The Ministry of Home Affairs has said it has deployed around 300,000 staffers across the country to successfully hold the local level elections. There are 10,756 polling stations and 21,955 polling centres in 753 local bodies. Of them, 2,946 polling centres are highly sensitive and 4,423 have been listed as sensitive, according to the Home Ministry.