Madhes parties, NC to join forces against left bloc

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Shukla: Alliances may differ but we’ll stand together to defeat the leftist forces

Oct 17, 2017-The Nepali Congress and two Madhes-based parties—Rastriya Janata Party, Nepal and the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal--have set three broader principles to forge an electoral alliance in the upcoming federal and provincial elections.

According to leaders from both sides, the first principle is supporting top leaders of both the blocs in the first-past-the-post (FPTP) category. For instance, the NC will support the candidacy of SSF-N Chairman Upendra Yadav and RJPN Chair Mahantha Thakur. The two parties would in turn support the candidacy of top NC leaders.

The second principle is to stand together to defeat the candidates of the left alliance of the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre).

In the constituencies where the left alliance is strong, the NC and the Madhes-based parties would enter into an informal alliance to defeat the leftist candidate.

“The forms of alliance could be different but we’ll stand together to defeat the leftist forces,” said RJP-N leader Sarbendra Nath Shukla, who is a taskforce member of the “democratic” bloc working to share electoral seats among the forces. The third one is making an understanding of healthy competition between the three parties if there is no consensus.

“Our first principle is to forge an electoral alliance in all the constituencies,” said Shukla. If this does not materialise, they would go for the other options. Despite the difficulties and differences, he added, alliance between the Madhes-based parties and the NC “has become a compulsion” after the emergence of the left alliance. “At least, we need to send a message across that democratic forces stand together,” he added.

The bone of contention between the NC and the Madhes-based parties is seat-sharing in Province 2. Both the NC and the Madhes-based parties regard this province as their vote bank, claiming to win maximum seats there. Out of the 32 constituencies in Province 2, two Madhes-based parties have claimed 24 seats. As the parties have prepared the list of candidates for the proportional representation (PR) system of election, the taskforce has started minimising the differences for sharing the constituencies.

“We have submitted a list to the NC and hope there will be agreement in 20 seats,” said a Madhesi leader requesting anonymity. Out of the 32 constituencies, both the NC and the Madhes-based parties have claimed to win at least 16 seats. If there is consensus in Province 2, leaders on both sides said, there will not be difficulties in forging alliance in other districts. The RJP-N and the SSF-N, having forged an electoral alliance, are collectively bargaining with the NC on the sharing of constituencies in the Tarai in the FPTP category.

NC taskforce member Bimalendra Nidhi said negotiations are going on with the Madhes-based parties for seat allocation. “The alliance can sustain different forms. We can decide with each party where, in what constituencies and in what form we can have alliances,” said Nidhi.

There are high chances of electoral alliance between the NC and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party led by Kamal Thapa. The RPP has already joined the government and has claimed at least 10 seats in federal parliament and 30 in provincial parliaments. “I think there will be an agreement for less than 10 FPTP seats,” said RPP leader Buddhi Man Tamang.

Published: 17-10-2017 08:15

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