Rebel candidates give left alliance hard time

  • Parties’ calls to withdraw candidacy cut no ice with ‘dissatisfied leaders’
- SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu
As per the EC calendar, candidates can withdraw their nominations today, but there are no signs from rebel candidates of taking back their names

Oct 25, 2017-Directives given by the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre), who have formed a left alliance targeting upcoming polls as a precursor to a ‘united communist centre’, to withdraw nominations have cut no ice with the rebel candidates.

Some leaders who were unhappy with the top leadership’s picks for the upcoming federal and provincial polls have filed rebel candidacy in various constituencies. 

Nominations for the first phase of federal and provincial polls, to be held on November 26, under the direct election system were filed on Sunday. 

As per a deal between the UML and the Maoist Centre, the two forces were to field candidates based on the respective parties’ strength in the constituencies. 

However, constituencies in Jajarkot, Ramechhap, Baglung, Dolkha, Humla, Rukum, Bajhang and Manang among others have seen rebel candidates, which the two left forces believe could defeat the whole purpose of forming the electoral alliance.

As per the Election Commission calendar, the candidates can withdraw their nominations on Wednesday. However, there were no signs from rebel candidates of withdrawing their candidacy until Tuesday evening. 

In Bajura, UML leader Gopal Bahadur Khadka has filed his candidacy for the federal parliament against the left alliance’s candidate Shakti Basnet, a Maoist leader and former home minister. Likewise, UML’s Sher Bahadur Bohara has filed candidacy in Bajura-1 against the alliance’s official candidate Arjun Thapa. 

In Ramechhap, Main Kumar Moktan and Hemanta Poudel of the Maoist Centre have filed nominations as independent candidates for provincial assembly elections against left alliance’s official candidates. Shanti Poudel and Kailash Dhungel, both from the UML, have been picked for Ramechhap- 1 and Ramechhap-2 respectively by the alliance. 

For the federal parliament polls, a Maoist Centre leader has filed his candidacy against Shyam Kumar Shrestha, a leader from the same party, who is currently a minister without portfolio in the incumbent government after Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba stripped him of the state minister for home affairs portfolio. 

Likewise, Lal Kumar KC has left the UML and filed candidacy on the CPN (ML) ticket in Dolkha-2 against his mother party’s Pashupati Chaulagain for the provincial assembly elections.

“We have directed the rebel candidates to review their decision as the alliance has picked candidates in such a way that it supports the larger goal of unifying the leftist forces of the country,” Maoist Centre Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal said, adding that those failing to abide by the party directives would face the music as per the party statute. “Such candidates might also be expelled from the party.” Bhusal, however, said that the party hoped rebel candidates would withdraw their nominations on Wednesday.

A recent UML Standing Committee meeting also had called on its leaders and cadres to refrain from filing rebel candidacy. 

The first phase elections will be held in 32 districts on November 26 for 37 federal constituencies and 74 provincial constituencies. 

According to the EC, as many as 320 candidates have filed nominations for the federal parliament and 482 have registered themselves for provincial assemblies. 

Published: 25-10-2017 07:20

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