Local Elections 2017: As results trickle in, NC admits its shortcomings

- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 19, 2017-It may still take a few more days before the results of the local elections are out, but the Nepali Congress (NC) on Thursday, five days after the first phase of voting, admitted its shortcomings and decided to gear up for the second phase of polls scheduled for June 14. 

A meeting of the top party leadership has concluded that election results, which are trickling in slowly, are unexpected and that there is nothing to be puffed up about and that the party needs to move ahead by shedding complacence.

“Final results are yet to come; we are getting mixed results but what we are seeing is unexpected,” said NC General Secretary Sashanka Koirala after the meeting.

Senior NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel in particular was vocally critical of party President Sher Bahadur Deuba for the party’s poor performance in the elections.

The CPN-UML has managed to make inroads into the constituencies which were a stronghold of the Congress party, said Poudel at the meeting. 

The election results have not only caught the party leadership off guard but also have prompted them to do some introspection, according to some leaders.

NC leaders during Thursday’s meeting tried to figure out the reasons that could have affected the party in the local elections. 

According to a senior NC leader, the party turned a blind eye to the entire local level demarcation process and that was one of the reasons why it fared poorly. Out of 744 local units proposed by the Local Level Restructuring Commission, elections were held on Sunday for 283 units. 

The second reason the party leadership dwelt on for its not up to the mark performance was haphazard way of picking the candidates. Many leaders in the party are of the view that candidates were “picked from leaders’ pockets”, ignoring the facts on the grounds and the mood in constituencies. 

In the run-up to the elections, the Congress party faced a major setback in the wake of its two moves, which leaders believed could have dented its reputation. 

As though the party’s direct involvement in the appointment of chief of police had not earned enough criticism, the NC, along with its coalition partner the CPN (Maoist Centre), sought to impeach Chief Justice Sushila Karki, facing serious a backlash from several quarters, including a sizeable section within the party. Leaders believe these incidents too affected the party in the elections. 

Factional feud is yet another reason. 

Failure to settle intra-party disputes and manage candidates properly may have given rise to discontent among local level leaders who did not support the candidates, according to leaders.

During Thursday’s meeting, the party decided to fix the shortcomings and head for the second phase of polls in a stronger manner. The party has decided to finalise the candidates within May 26, more than two weeks before the voting.  

“We assessed the first phase of elections and the results. We have decided to gear up for the second phase in an effective way,” said Koirala after the meeting. 

Published: 19-05-2017 08:17

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