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Nepal poll winners flee to India: Report

The winners of controversial Nepal local body polls have fled across the border to escape retribution from Maoist guerrillas, reports say.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2006 12:21 IST

Victory has brought little cheer for a group of winners of the controversial Nepal local body polls, who have fled across the border to India to escape retribution from Maoist guerrillas, a media report said.

These candidates were elected unopposed for fear of Maoists keeping people away from participating in the February 8 elections.

Ten out of 13 new municipal officials in Baitadi district in farwestern Nepal, near the Indian border, have hurriedly left on a "pilgrimage" to India after the house of one of them was bombed by the communist rebels and a second candidate killed elsewhere.

Kisan Sangh Thagunna, mayor of Dasrath Chand municipality in Baitadi, headed for the holy city of Haridwar in India's Uttaranchal state Friday after taking his oath of office, as Maoists bombed his house for taking part in the election.

Thagunna was accompanied by nine more contestants, who like him were elected unopposed.

Deputy mayor Dan Singh Rawal, six ward chairmen and two ward members were provided security escort and taken to Jhulaghat on the western border Friday, the Kathmandu Post daily reported on urday.

The newly elected officials took money from the government before embarking on their trip, the Post said.

The mayor collected Nepali Rs 20,000, his deputy Rs 15,000 and the others Rs 3,000 each from the municipality, the Post said.

Earlier, 18 candidates from Gulariya in Kailali, another farwestern district, were escorted by security forces to India, the Post said.

Maoists have abducted a mayoral candidate from Gulariya and bombed the house of another.

After a second contestant was killed by Maoists, fear spread among candidates and those who had been declared uncontested winners.

Tribeni Majhi, who was declared elected uncontested ward chairman in Biratnagar, the eastern town where Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala is campaigning to drum up support for the polls, succumbed to bullet injuries Friday, a day after Maoists attacked him at his residence and killed his companion, former policeman Dipak Gurung.

King Gyanendra, who seized power with the help of the army last year, is adamant on holding the polls on Wednesday despite over 90 per cent parties, including all the major ones, not taking part.

The Maoist guerrillas have warned they would not allow the polls to be held and have called a weeklong shutdown from Sunday.

Both the Maoists and opposition parties are against the poll saying it is a farce enacted by the king to deceive the international community and legitimise his power grab.

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 11:50 IST