KATHMANDU: Gunmen shot an election candidate in southern Nepal yesterday, police said, fuelling fears about security before crucial national polls next month.
Mohammad Alam, from the Unified Marxist-Leninist party who is running in the southern district of Bara, was in critical condition after being shot in the head by a gunman riding pillion on a motorbike, local policeman Thakur Prasad Gyawali said.
“He was getting out of his car and speaking to someone on his mobile phone when he was struck,” Gyawali said.
Alam was taken to hospital and local authorities were planning to airlift him to Kathmandu for further treatment.
“We have launched a hunt for the attackers,” Gyawali said, adding that Alam’s supporters were preparing for protests against the attack, the first since Thursday’s deadline to nominate candidates for the November 19 elections.
The impoverished Himalayan country has operated in a legislative vacuum since May 2012.
A constituent assembly elected in 2008 after the end of Nepal’s 10-year civil war failed to produce a new constitution, and the polls are seen as a way of completing the peace process.
Although more than 100 parties have fielded candidates, they will be fought mostly between the centrist Unified Marxist-Leninist party, the Nepali Congress and the radical Maoists.