Nepal Army rejects allegations by Maoists about rigging polls
The Nepal Army on Thursday described as "baseless" claims by the Maoists that it was involved in rigging the Constituent Assembly polls held on November 19.
Kathmandu: The Nepal Army on Thursday described as "baseless" claims by the Maoists that it was involved in rigging the Constituent Assembly polls held on November 19.
In a statement, the army rejected allegations made by the Unified CPN-Maoist and said such accusations were "an attempt to drag the national army into controversy".
Describing the allegations as "baseless", the army said it had accomplished its role during the polls dutifully and honestly.
"This is an attempt to incriminate the professional and apolitical nature of the Nepal Army," the statement said.
The UCPN-Maoist led by former premier Prachanda blamed the army and the Election Commission for its humiliating defeat in the polls. The party was relegated to third position, winning just 80 seats in the direct and proportionate voting systems.
During the first Constituent Assembly election in 2008, the Maoists had emerged as the largest party with 350 seats in the 601-member assembly.
During the recent polls, the Nepali Congress emerged as the largest party with 196 seats, followed by the CPN-UML with 175 seats.
An internal probe by the UCPN-Maoist into alleged irregularities in the election held the army and the Election Commission responsible for "fraud".
"After completing the elections, army officials transported the ballot boxes, kept them for hours in their camp and we suspect that many ballot boxes were swapped during this interval inside the army barracks," the party claimed.
But the army said its "neutral role" during the free and fair election was "highly appreciated" by the people, the government, political parties, civil society, the world community and national and international polls observers. This was a "matter of pride for the Nepal Army", the statement said.
The Election Commission had earlier rejected the Maoists` allegations, saying the polls were a "historic success with voting turn out around 78 per cent".
Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety asked the Maoists to go to the Constituent Assembly court if they felt there were irregularities in the polls.