Heavyweights in Nov 26 clash

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu
Bhattarai: The alliance of the NC and the Naya Shakti is a new experiment in politics, which has caught global attention

Oct 23, 2017-

As nominations for the first phase of federal parliament and provincial assemblies conclude, Gorkha Consti-tuency No 2 is set for a major clash between heavyweights Baburam Bhattarai, coordinator of the Naya Shakti Party Nepal, and Narayan Kaji Shrestha, senior leader of the CPN (Maoist Centre).

Former prime minister Bhattarai, who won the constituency as a Maoist candidate in the second Constituent Assembly four years ago, is now running for a federal parliament seat from the Nepali Congress-led ‘democratic alliance’. Bhattarai has the backing of the NC in the polls scheduled for November 26 against Shrestha, the common candidate of the left alliance. The NC and the Naya Shakti got the first and third largest votes in the recently concluded local level elections in the electoral constituency while the Maoists and the CPN-UML held the second and fourth positions, respectively. “The alliance of the NC and the Naya Shakti is a new experiment in politics, which has caught global attention,” Bhattarai told the media after filing his candidacy.

Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Prajatantrik Chairman Pashupati Shumsher Rana is another prominent figure contesting in the first round of polls. A ‘democratic alliance’ candidate, Rana has received support of the NC in Sindhupalchok-2. In the second CA elections, Rana was defeated by UML candidate Sher Bahadur Tamang, who is in the race again. Tamang has the backing of the Maoist Centre, which got the second position in the last CA polls. Maoist leader Agni Sapkota is contesting from Sindhupalchok-1 against NC leader and Minister for Information and Communications Mohan Bahadur Basnet.

Popular Congress figures Ram Sharan Mahat and Arjun Narsingh KC are trying their luck from Nuwakot 1 and 2, respectively. Both the leaders have remained undefeated in the last three elections. However, since the UML and the Maoists are united against them, they will have a tough fight. Former finance minister Barsha Man Pun, a Maoist leader, has registered his name in Rolpa. As a common left candidate, he faces Amar Singh Pun from the NC in the Maoist heartland. UML Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai, who was considered a chief minister candidate in Province-1, has stood in the federal parliamentary vote from his home district Taplejung. Former minister Sher Dhan Rai, a potential chief minister candidate from the UML in Province-1, is fighting for a provincial assembly seat in Bhojpur.

Two other senior UML leaders Rajendra Pandey and Prithvi Subba Gurung are the candidates for provincial assembly seats. Projected as a chief ministerial candidate in Province-3, Pandey has chosen to run from Dhading 1 (A). The constituency of party Secretary Gurung, a CM candidate for Province-4, is Lamjung (B).

“All the three leaders are probable CM faces from their respective constituencies though no formal decision has been taken yet,” said UML Secretary Pradeep Gyawali.

The democratic alliance has not presented its CM candidates except for Province-6 where former minister Jeevan Bahadur Shahi, a provincial assembly seat claimant in Humla (B), is a likely figure.

 

 

Big names in fray

Former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, Maoist Centre senior leaders Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Agni Sapkota, NC leaders Ram Sharan Mahat and Arjun Narsingh KC, and RPP-P Chair Pashupati Shumsher Rana, among others

 

Vote data

  • First phase of election in 32 districts
  • Nomination for 37 seats of federal parliament and 74 seats of provincial parliaments
  • First parliamentary election after 1999
  • 3,228,879 voters in the first phase
  • 320 candidates in federal elections
  • 482 candidates in provincial polls

Published: 23-10-2017 07:25

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