Major parties prepare to get out on the hustings

  • UML launches campaign, RPP to start on March 20; NC, Maoist Centre devising strategies
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Mar 5, 2017-As the Madhes-based parties continue to call for not holding local level elections without amending the constitution, major parties are gearing up for their nationwide campaigns. 

While the main opposition CPN-UML already out on the hustings with its “Mechi-Mahakali National Campaign” from Jhapa, other parties are busy devising their publicity plans. 

The UML is focusing its campaign on strengthening party’s base in 20 districts from Tarai/Madhes where UML agendas have faced fierce objection. The UML, through its “Mechi-Mahakali National Campaign”, is in bid to woo Madhesi voters. The second largest party in Parliament had secured second highest number of seats in these Tarai/ Madhes districts in the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013. 

Its 15-day campaign which began from Jhapa on Saturday will run through March 18 during which the party plans to hold mass meetings at 33 different places. 

One party that is taking local level elections as a litmus test is the ruling CPN (Maoist Centre). The party had fared poorly in 2013, facing a humiliating drubbing only to be relegated to the third place. A meeting of the party headquarters on Saturday agreed on the need to launch “strong campaigns” and devise concrete plans for nationwide programmes. “Next headquarters meeting has been called for Monday to chalk out election strategy,” said Maoist Centre Spokeswoman Pampha Bhusal. 

Interestingly, the Nepali Congress, the largest party Parliament, is yet to come up with its campaign plans. Its leaders, however, claim that publicity programmes are being held at the local level. 


Morcha lashes out at UML

KATHMANDU: Top leaders of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, have alleged that the CPN-UML is trying to invite confrontation through what they call “ill-timed and provocative” campaigns along the Tarai plains. The UML started its “Mechi-Mahakali Nationwide Campaign” from Jhapa on Saturday. UML leaders including Chairman KP Sharma Oli have described the campaign as “an unprecedented event launched with a view to garnering support for the party and its agendas”. But Madhesi leaders have warned that the campaign “could fuel further tension in the already tense region”. “The situation in Madhes is volatile and there is sense of anger among people. The [UML] campaign has not gone down well with the people who view it as a campaign against their struggle for their rights. UML has taken a wrong decision at a wrong time,” Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur told reporters at an interaction in the Capital. (PR)

“The Central Working Committee members of the party have been visiting districts and mobilising local leaders for local elections,” said NC CWC member Ram Sharan Mahat. NC leaders do concede that the party is lagging behind. “We are yet to come up with large-scale campaign plans,” said NC Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha. 

The Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), the fourth largest party in Parliament, which feels emboldened after the merger of two parties in November, said it would start its nationwide campaign from March 20. The party, which had managed to secure seats in the Constituent Assembly in 2013 through proportional representation system, is making a pitch for “democracy with space for monarchy” and Nepal as a Hindu state. The party is starting first phase of its election campaign with “Ekata Yatra” through which it plans to send a message of unity across its cadres. “This will be the first step for our election campaign,” said RPP Chief Whip Dilnath Giri. He said the second phase of campaign will start immediately after the end of “Ekata Yatra” under “Jilla Jilla ma RPP”, or RPP in all districts.

Published: 05-03-2017 08:06

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