Stakeholders damn parties for spreading school children in polls campaign

Students taking part at the victory rally of United Maoist Party following CA polls in 2008. File photo
Students taking part at a victory rally of United Maoist Party following its sweeping victory at CA polls in 2008. File photo

KATHMANDU, Nepal-Even though the election code of conduct-2013 issued by the Election Commission (EC) forbids children and schools for the election publicity, major political parties are found of breaching the directions as large numbers of schools children are being deployed at the publicity programmes of the parties for Nov19 CA polls.

The Clause No. 10 of the election code of conduct stated that any type of pamphlets should not be stuck on educational institutions, historical buildings, walls public buildings and monuments.

Similarly, Clause No. 32 has mentioned that activities related to election publicity including mass gathering, miking, among others promotional programme should not be carried out in school and its premises whereas the clause no. 35 has it that children should not be used in any activities related to election publicity and are not allowed to take part in rally, meeting and assemblies organized by the parties.

However, breaching all the direction issued by the EC, schools, teachers , guardians and above all the leaders of the major political parties are using   school children for the upcoming polls.

The government of Nepal had on May 25, 2011 announced school as ‘Zone of Peace’ and the Education Ministry had brought out the guideline for its implementation for both the teachers and the schools.

During a programme in the Capital Kathmandu, stakeholders expressed serious concern over the increased violation of the code of the conduct issued by the Commission. They  demanded strong commitments on the part of the leaders of the political parties for not  spreading students in publicity during polls.

On the occasion, spokesperson of the EC Bir Bahadur Rai said that the EC has already drawn the attention for not holding assemblies in schools for election purpose. He warned that action could be taken if the code of conduct is found breached. Rai added that the polling centres have been fixed at schools in agreement with the Education Ministry not to hamper teaching and learning activities.

Out of the 10,013 polling booths, 65 per cent centres are established in the schools.

Similarly, spokesperson at the Ministry, Mahashram Sharma stressed the need that teachers should be abided by the code of conducts of the Commission urging the teachers not to let entry of representatives and activists of the political parties in the school premises in course of election publicity.

Likewise, chairman of the Guardian Association Nepal, Suprabhat Bhandari, charged EC of violating its own code of conduct by setting up polling  centres in schools.

Similarly, Chairperson of N-PABSON, Geeta Rana, assured that the private schools would follow the code of conduct issued by the Commission.

Representative from All Nepal Teachers’ Organisation affiliated to CPN-Maoist blamed that the government itself has violated the code of conduct by organising assemblies in schools.





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