Print Edition - 2017-09-21 | News
RJP-N registers first win, Congress maintains lead
- Province 2 local elections
- CPN (Maoist Centre) opens account
- Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-N ahead of CPN-UML
RJP-N’s good showing despite internal disputes ahead of the elections is due to its stance on constitutional issues, analysts say
Sep 21, 2017-
The Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) opened its account in Province 2, registering a win in Hansapur Municipality of Dhanusha, the first for the third phase local polls, while the party maintained lead in as many as 15 local units.
For the RJP-N, the first win and a considerable lead come as a great respite, as this is the first time it is participating in the local polls after deciding to stay away from the earlier two rounds. However, the Nepali Congress (NC) was on the top of the list as counting continued on Wednesday, with the party leading in 41 local units. The Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal (SSF-N) was leading in 31 local units, ahead of the CPN-UML (leading in 20 local units) which had managed to sweep the two phases of elections held on May 14 and June 28.
The CPN (Maoist Centre)’s Ganga Pasawan and Gyan Kumari Shrestha won mayoral and deputy mayoral posts of Karjanha Municipality, Sarlahi, as it maintained lead in 19 local units as of 10:30pm on Wednesday.
The NC so far has maintained its lead in Bara, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Siraha, and Saptari—the party’s traditional vote bank.
If the current trend continues, the NC is set to emerge as the biggest force in Province 2, but the RJP-N is not going to lose much, given earlier speculations that the party, a unified force of six Madhes-based parties, had lost its constituencies after its failure to get the constitution amended despite months-long struggle.
Traditionally, the NC has fared well in districts along the plains. The Madhes-based parties, however, pulled off a remarkable victory during the first Constituent Assembly elections in 2008. But by the time the country voted for the second CA, the Madhes-based parties had gone through frequent splits, which not only diminished their presence but also weakened their voice, which resulted in the promulgation of the constitution in 2015 despite their resistance. The Madhes-based parties then took to the streets, saying some provisions of the charter marginalises some sections of the society.
However, by the time local elections were announced in February, the RJP-N was the only Madhes-based party that was sticking to its demand of constitution amendment, as the SSF-N and the Nepal Loktantrik Forum led by Bijay Kumar Gacchadhar had decided to join the polls.
A constitution amendment bill, tabled in Parliament at the RJP-N’s insistence, failed on August 21. The RJP-N, nonetheless, decided to join the third phase of local polls which were held on Monday.
Given the differences of opinion within the party, many RJP-N members had expressed their apprehensions about the poll results.
On Wednesday, Baghchaura Bazaar of Dhanusha, which witnessed protests on a regular basis immediately after the constitution promulgation, became a stage for a victory rally.
RJP-N’s Ram Mandal and Renu Devi Jha won the mayoral and deputy mayoral posts of Hansapur Municipality, securing 3,320 votes and 3,276 votes respectively. Mandal, who is in furniture business, dedicated his victory to the people, saying “I will now fully commit myself to politics to serve the people”.
The RJP-N’s good showing despite internal disputes ahead of elections is due to its stance on constitutional issues, analysts said.
Another Madhes-based party whose performance has significantly improved is Upendra Yadav-led SSF-N. The analysts attributed SSF-N’s improved performance to its Chairman Yadav, who had been preparing for the elections for quite some time, and caste factor. Surendra Labh, a professor at Ramswarup Ramsagar Multiple Campus , Janakpur, said the trend has given separate messages to parties. “The message for the RJP-N and FSF-N is that they must maintain unity,” he said.
“For the NC, the message is the party, as the largest force, should be more liberal and must act to address the constitutional issues,” said Labh. “The UML should change its current stance on Madhes and accept the demands of the Madhesi people.”
Political analyst Chandra Kishore Jha, however, said these preliminary results were expected. “I was of the view that the NC and the UML would fight for the first
and second positions. I still believe that the UML will emerge as the second largest party,” he said.
Party Win Lead
RJP-N 1 15
NC 0 41
SSF-N 0 31
UML 0 20
Maoist Centre 1 19
NLF 0 1
Others 0 0
Published: 21-09-2017 07:49