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Sporadic incidents of violence as Nepal votes

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Sporadic incidents of violence as Nepal votes
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Kathmandu: Sporadic incidents of violence were reported as 50 percent of electors voted by early afternoon Tuesday for a second Constituent Assembly in Nepal amid calls for boycott by a coalition of parties led by a hardline Communist-led faction.

The Nepalnews.com, citing the country's Election Commission, reported that 50 percent of voting was recorded till 1 p.m. Tuesday after polling commenced at 7 a.m.

However, a bomb went off in the capital near a polling station, in which three children were injured. They were admitted to Bir Hospital, Xinhua reported.

In another incident, a voting centre at Chamunda Hadakot in Dailekh constituency No.2 was attacked by cadres of the poll-opposing Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M), who then took away the ballot box.

Police fired in the air to bring the situation under control, Nepalnews.com reported. Voting at the centre was stalled after the incident.

In another incident, cadres of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal (MJF-N) and the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) clashed at Kochiya village in Rautahat constituency-3.

The situation was brought under control after police fired in the air.

At Thulopaatal polling station in Dolakha, six people, including Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Maoist Leninist (CPN-UML) leader Shanti Pakhrin, were injured in an attack following which five armed people were arrested, according to Nepalnews.com.

A total of 12,147,865 voters registered with the Election Commission are eligible to cast their votes.

Voter ID cards were introduced to make the election process transparent. Around 17,000 candidates from 120 political parties are in the fray for 575 seats under both the direct and proportional representation election systems.

Another 26 members will be nominated by the cabinet on the basis of national consensus to fill the 601-member house.

In the previous elections, 54 political parties were in fray, and 25 out of them found representation in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, which was dissolved last year after it failed to finalise a new constitution for the Himalayan nation.

The UCPN-M had emerged as the largest party in the previous polls.

"I voted (for the) second time with a hope that parties will draft a new constitution within a year. The new constitution will lead us to stability and prosperity," Shankar Dhakal, who voted from Kathmandu, told Xinhua Tuesday morning.

Nepal is holding its second Constituent Assembly elections after the first assembly elected in 2008 failed to promulgate the much-awaited constitution that will institutionalise the republic established in 2008 after the 240-year long monarchy was toppled.

IANS

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