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Mahar secures NSU top post in tight race

- SARIN GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Aug 18, 2016-In a much tighter battle than expected, Nain Singh Mahar beat Manoj Mani Acharya on Thursday to be elected the president of the Nepal Students’ Union, a sister wing affiliated to Nepali Congress. The party’s establishment side swept all top three positions--president and two general secretaries, as the 11th General Convention of the union concluded after 12 days.

Mahar, who was fielded by the establishment side, received 1,334 votes, while Ram Chandra Poudel-led faction candidate Manoj Mani Acharya got 1,209. In the race for two general secretary positions, Kundan Kafle and Saroj Thapa--both from the establishment side--emerged victorious with 1,794 and 1,290 votes respectively.

As the party’s election committee announced the results of the top three posts, both the presidential candidates were seated right beside each other inside the vote counting room on the second floor of the NC's party headquarters in Sanepa. In a rather light moment, Mahar and Acharya congratulated each other with a hug before stepping out to announce the results. A message of unity was passed when the both held hands while talking to the media on the office premises.

In his first public speech as the new NSU president, Mahar pledged to initiate reforms in the educational sector and also play a supporting role in implementing the constitution. “Both the educational sector and the overall politics of the country are in a critical juncture. In a democratic country, we will have a winner and a looser when we go for elections. But, in the end, this is an internal competition and we represent the same organisation and will also continue to work together in future,” said Mahar.

Mahar, who hails from Dadeldhura, began his political journey in 1990. He has since been an instrumental figure within the NSU and Dadeldhura, which is also the hometown of NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba. His political career reached a pinnacle when he was the elected vice-president of the NSU almost a decade ago.

Giving credit to the party leadership for the successful holding of the NSU election after almost a decade, Acharya said: “Everyone including the cadres, the party leaders and the general public really wanted to see out the convention with elections. This clearly shows the message of unity we have within our party,” said Acharya, who hails from Rukum.

The voting process that began on Wednesday afternoon was only completed around 10am on Thursday due to some technical glitches. Results of the three top posts were announced by the party’s election committee at around 3pm. Electronic voting machines were largely used to cast and count the ballots.

The elections have been considered a major achievement for Deuba--in line with something he had vowed to conduct within six months of being elected the NC president in March. The committee formed by the party under Prakash Sharan Mahat to hold the polls was also vital.

“When no one dared to attempt, we volunteered to sit in the committee and weather the challenges,” said Guru Raj Ghimire, a member of the committee. The 11th General Convention of the NSU on August 4. All other results will be published in the party's official website. 

Published: 18-08-2016 14:15

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