Poll campaign gains momentum in Nepal

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Sonauli/Butwal Border (Nepal), Apr 1 : Campaigning has gained momentum in Nepal ahead of the April 10 general elections, as political parties are vigorously canvassing for their candidates.

The election was the centerpiece of the 2006 peace deal inked with Maoists, allowing the former rebels join the political mainstream.

Political parties are canvassing vigorously across the nation, each promoting their candidates, with promises of a rosy future for the residents under the new democratic set up.

At the forefront are the Maoists, who after waging a bitter 'people's war' for ten years, are now waging an intense election battle.

"Till now, we were under a feudal system and till the time a new pro-people Constitution is brought in place, it is impossible to think about freedom of the people. We are participating in these elections to ensure a people friendly constitution in place and to work for the upliftment of the people," said Vinod Upadhyay, a Maoist leader.

Giving them stiff competition are the Madhesis who are contesting the elections under the 'Madhesi Human Rights Forum' working for the cause of a separate autonomous state for the Madhesis within Nepal. The forum has also been advocating for a greater say in the running of the Central Government.

"We will vote for Madhesi forum as they have worked a lot for our rights. Maoists have carried on their own struggles, but never have they done anything for our benefit. In fact they have inflicted all kinds of tortures upon us," said Mohan Dhital, a resident.

Meanwhile, election officials are busy making arrangements for the poll.

"We plan to seal the borders three days ahead of the polls. We also plan to deploy security forces in the region depending upon the sensitivity of the electoral areas," said Narayan Dhital, Chief Election Officer.

Extra care is being taken towards ensuring security across the country fearing trouble during the elections.

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