Top NC leaders fail to rescue party

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

Dec 11, 2017-

As the vote count nears conclusion, the Nepali Congress’s poor run in the House of Representatives and Provincial Assembly elections exacerbates with most of its prominent leaders suffering defeat.

While NC President and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba registered a thumping victory over his closest rival Khagaraj Bhatta of the CPN (Maoist Centre), other influential and senior party leaders tasted humiliating losses.

Deuba got the better of Bhatta by a huge margin of 6,929 votes as he maintained his dominance in his home constituency of Dadeldhura.

Other NC leaders, who were expected to register victories, have also been defeated. In the Tanahu-1 constituency, senior NC leader Ram Chandra Paudel was defeated by left alliance candidate Krishna Kumar Shrestha, who mustered 34,489 votes against his competitor’s 27,675. Shrestha had lost to Paudel in the second Constituent Assembly elections held in 2013.

Five-time former finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat lost the Nuwakot-1 constituency to Maoist Centre candidate Hit Bahadur Tamang. Mahat, a four-time parliamentarian from Nuwakot, mustered 27,920 votes while Tamang managed to win 36,473 votes to register his victory.

Arjun Narsingh KC, the NC candidate for Nuwakot-2, was trounced by CPN-UML candidate Narayan Khatiwada by over 10,000 votes.

Top Congress Madhesi leader Bimalendra Nidhi, who had decided to take on another heavyweight leader Rajendra Mahato of the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, was defeated in the closely contested Dhanusha-3 federal parliamentary seat.

In the eastern district of Jhapa, two prominent NC leaders Biswo Prakash Sharma and Krishna Prasad Sitaula failed to bring any relief to the NC, which faces its worst performance ever in parliamentary elections.

Sharma and Sitaula lost the Jhapa 1 and 3 constituencies, respectively. Maoist candidate Surendra Kumar Karki left Sharma behind by 2,863 votes while Sitaula suffered a massive loss by a margin of over 13,000 votes.

“This is a serious setback for the party. We need a serious review within the party to see what went wrong,” said Gagan Thapa, who is among very few victorious Congress leaders.

Thapa retained his Kathmandu-4 constituency while Prakash Man Singh also maintained his dominance in his stronghold Kathmandu-1. NC leader Rajan KC, who secured a much valued win over Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal in the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections, has claimed the Kathmandu-10 seat.

Arzu Rana Deuba and Prakash Sharan Mahat were among other top Congress leaders failing to make it to the federal parliament.

Published: 11-12-2017 07:31

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