Friday, September 22, 2023
Friday, September 22, 2023

In Gandaki Province, the UML is losing ground. Congress achieving success

UML alone obtained 13 seats in the lower house from Gandaki in 2017, but this time around, that number has dropped to just five.

During the federal and provincial elections in 2017, the Nepali Congress held just one seat in the House of Representatives under the first-past-the-post electoral system from the Gandaki Province. The only candidate from Nawalparasi (East)-1 was Shashank Koirala.

The Congress has achieved major gains in Gandaki as a result of the elections held on Sunday. By Friday, results had been announced for 17 of the province’s 18 electoral constituencies. In nine electoral districts, the Congress won.

The CPN-UML is calling for reelection in four polling places in Chapakot Municipality and alleging that Congress workers rigged the vote there, so the vote counting in Syangja-2 has not yet started. The race for the House seat is being contested by UML Secretary Padma Aryal and Congress Vice President Dhanraj Gurung.

The UML alone took home 13 seats in Gandaki in 2017. Three House seats went to the CPN (Maoist Centre), and one to the Naya Shakti Party, which was then led by Baburam Bhattarai.

Only five seats have been won by the UML in this election thus far. Man Bahadur Gurung, Bidhya Bhattarai, and Damodar Paudel, respectively, were elected as UML candidates in Kaski constituencies 1, 2, and 3. Similar to how Prithvi Subba Gurung won the Lamjung vote, Padam Giri triumphed in the Parbat district.

According to the UML leadership, the electoral partnership caused the party to lose several House seats in the first-past-the-post system. In order to run in the 2017 federal election, the UML formed an electoral coalition with the Maoists. According to Nabaraj Sharma, the UML’s provincial head in Gandaki Province, “We lost some of the seats when the UML unilaterally contested the election against the common candidates of the five-party coalition.”

“Our party has not yet thoroughly analyzed the poll results. It is mandated that the subordinate party units submit reports in this regard. The issue that led to the party’s candidates losing the election will be investigated, according to Sharma.

Ram Chandra Paudel, a senior member of the Congress, was chosen for the HoR from Tanahun-1 for the sixth time. In 2017, he lost against then-UML candidate Krishna Kumar Shrestha. Shrestha was chosen to represent Bara Constituency No. 4 in the federal legislature. Similarly, Kiran Gurung of the UML lost to Shankar Bhandari of the Congress, who was elected from Tanahun-2.

In Nawalparasi (East), Bishnu Kumar Karki won the House of Representatives seat from constituency No. 2, while Congress central member Koirala was re-elected from constituency No. 1. The UML candidates were their main rivals.

Similar to how Raju Thapa, a candidate for the Congress, triumphed in Syangja-1 by defeating Narayan Marasini, a former federal legislator and UML leader. While Rajendra Bajagain won the Gorkha-1 district, Congress candidates Yogesh Gauchan in Mustang and Tek Bahadur Gurung in Manang were elected to the federal parliament.

For the November 20 elections in Gandaki Province, the Congress, the Maoist Center, the Rastriya Janamorcha, and the CPN (Unified Socialist) formed an electoral coalition. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the head of the Maoist Center, won a seat in the House of Representatives from Gorkha-2, while Devendra Paudel, another party official, won a seat from Baglung-2.

The Rastriya Janamorcha chairman, Chitra Bahadur KC, is an octogenarian and has been elected to the HoR from Baglung-3 for a third term. With the backing of the Congress, the Maoist, and the CPN, KC—who has been a vociferous opponent of federalism, the citizenship bill, and the deal between the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the US government—has won the race (Unified Socialist). “I had backed the Oli-led administration. Due to Oli’s violation of the constitution, our party was forced to form an electoral alliance with Congress and other parties, according to KC.

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