Electoral alliance, or dalliance?

  • Nepotism rules the roost in NC, Maoist Centre; poles apart UML, RPP to work in tandem
- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 5, 2017-

Electoral alliances for first phase of local elections scheduled for May 14 once again have thrown up for debate the idiosyncrasies of political parties. 

While an alliance between the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (Maoist Centre) for local polls has sparked dissatisfaction within parties, especially in the NC, the tie-up between the CPN-UML and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) has raised many an eyebrow. 

As far as NC-Maoist poll alliance is concerned, especially in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Bharatpur, nepotism has ruled the roost while fielding the candidates. 

In Kathmandu, NC has fielded Rajuraj Joshi as its mayoral candidate. Joshi is elder brother of Minister for Industry Nabindra Raj Joshi. Similarly, Ramjee Kunwar, NC’s mayoral candidate in Pokhara, is brother in-law of NC leader Arjun Narsingh KC. In Bharatpur, the Maoist Centre has fielded Renu Dahal, daughter of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, as the mayoral candidate.  

During a meeting of the NC and Maoist top leadership on Thursday, the two parties decided to forge an alliance in four metropolitan cities—Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lalitpur and Bharatpur. They have, however, failed to reach a deal for Lalitpur. The parties have agreed to “work together” in other metropolitan cities as well, according to a leader. 

As per their understanding, the NC has withdrawn its mayoral candidate from Bharatpur and decided to support Renu Dahal. 

Dinesh Koirala, NC’s mayoral candidate, earlier had refused to withdraw his candidacy. But party President Sher Bahadur Deuba is learnt to have written to the District Election Commission Office, Chitwan on Thursday stating that candidacy of Koirala “has been withdrawn”. 

In Chitwan, NC member took to the streets to protest the party’s decision of withdrawing Koirala’s candidacy. Back in Kathmandu, according to an NC leader, senior party leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula has expressed dissatisfaction with Deuba for withdrawing Koirala’s candidacy.

When it comes to opposition forces, UML and RPP’s decision to join hands has come a surprise for many. The RPP and the UML have forged an alliance in Kathmandu and Lalitpur where they have divided mayoral and deputy mayoral candidates. 

Observers say the way the parties have forged alliances for the polls shows they are more concerned about securing victory rather than working on development agendas. Pointing to nepotism in the NC and Maoist Centre, they say the alliance between the UML and RPP looks quite unnatural as they are poles apart when it comes to ideologies they preach. 

But UML leader Yogesh Bhattarai refused to agree. 

“Kamal Thapa became part of the Oli government and now with the NC and Maoist Centre standing together, the UML-RPP alliance should not be taken otherwise,” said Bhattarai. 

Published: 05-05-2017 07:57

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