Nepali Congress (NC) central member Umesh Shrestha has applied with the Election Commission demanding he be declared elected from the House of Representatives (HoR) constituency of Chitwan-2.
He has reached the Election Commission on Sunday demanding he be elected after Rastriya Swatantra Party President Rabi Lamichhane, who was elected from the constituency, was declared ineligible to become lawmaker by the Supreme Court (SC) in its verdict on Lamichhane’s citizenship controversy.
Shrestha has pointed that he suffered injustice as the Election Commission did not rule in the complaints lodged about Lamichhane’s ineligibility before the election on November 20, 2022. “Five complaints were registered about Rabi Lamichhane’s citizenship at the time of election. Two were lodged in Kathmandu. Decision was not taken on them. We both have suffered injustice in lack of timely decision,” Shrestha has stated.
“Rabi Lamichhane would not have become candidate had decision been taken then. He now has to go to the ‘base level’ after becoming deputy prime minister. I have also suffered injustice. The tax-payers’ money also would not have been spent if decision on his candidacy had been taken earlier.”
He has added that he moved the Election Commission to establish a precedent. “Such incident has not happened until now. There is also need to interpret the Constitution. This is a special situation where a non-citizen, who cannot contest election, contested and won election,” he has elaborated. “The Election Commission dallied in taking decision. The whole process has been revoked now along with Lamichhane’s citizenship. I have come to fight for a precedent to ensure that others do not suffer this.”
The Election Commission, however, has been saying by-election should be held in Chitwan-2. “The thing Election Commission should do in accordance to the law is publish notice about revocation of the post as per the SC verdict,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dinesh Thapaliya has told Setopati. “The Parliament Secretariat then informs about vacancy. We will hold by-election when information arrives. The law says as much.”
He has stressed that there is no law specifying that the post should be given to another person when it becomes vacant. “The party can appoint another person from the list if it were lawmaker elected through the Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system. But it is finished once the election is completed in the First-Past-The-Post electoral system. There is no law saying second one or third one being elected. The House is currently on. It can interpret.”
Lamichhane was elected from Chitwan-2 with 49,300 votes while Shrestha finished second securing 14,988 votes.