Nepal’s ‘most wanted’ votes for Maoist bomb makerJuly 21st, 2008 - 12:13 pm ICT by IANS
By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, July 21 (IANS) In addition to stunning alliances and cut-throat rivalry, Nepal’s presidential poll runoff Monday received yet another dramatic twist with a lawmaker, who was once among the most wanted criminals in the country, turning up in the capital to vote for a former bomb maker and revolutionary. Babban Singh, who won the April election from Rautahat district in the Terai plains while remaining underground, created a furore with his surprise appearance at the International Convention Centre Monday morning to take part in the presidential poll run-off.
“I voted for (Maoist candidate) Ram Raja Prasad Singh,” said a defiant Babban Singh, surrounded by representatives of the media. “I voted for him because he is the father of the republic of Nepal and made huge sacrifices.”
Babban Singh went underground a year ago after police said they suspected him of having masterminded a series of bomb blasts in capital city Kathmandu in which three women were killed.
He contested Nepal’s first constituent assembly election from one of the most trouble-prone districts and won with a convincing margin despite remaining underground.
His father and other family members campaigned for Singh, claiming he had been framed by police.
When the newly elected constituent assembly members were sworn in, Singh mingled with them and took oath of office without being detected.
Nepal’s election authorities said his election was valid as police had not formally charged him with any offence.
Babban Singh, who fought the election as an independent candidate, said he had voted for Ram Raja Prasad Singh, who in 1975 took part in a failed uprising against the then king Mahendra, setting off a series of blasts before the palace, parliament and a five-star hotel owned by royal family members.
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