Struggle to defend and destroy bastions

Dhangadhi, November 14

The upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections in Province7 are all set to become a prestige battle between forces seeking to defend and break the erstwhile fortresses this time. While the ruling Nepali Congress has the challenge of repeating its past electoral success here, the left alliance between the CPN-UML and CPN-MC is keen to upset the ruling party.

The province has come into the limelight also due to the candidacy of Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba who has thrown his hat as a parliamentary candidate in this December poll from Dadeldhura. He has won all elections he has contested since 1991 here.

The left alliance’s Khagaraj Bhatta is contesting against Deuba.

Similarly, the NC has fielded its central member and physical infrastructure and transport minister Bir Bahadur Balayar for the parliament from Doti, where the UML has fielded its party politburo member Prem Ale Magar.

In Kailali, PM Deuba’s spouse Arzu Rana Deuba is a parliamentary candidate from Constituency No 5, where the left alliance’s Naradmuni Rana is her rival.

In another constituency, i.e., Kailali-4, CPN-MC heavyweight and party’s provincial in-charge Lekhraj Bhatta is in the fray for a parliamentary seat for the left alliance. He is taking on his cousin NC veteran leader Sunil Bhandari.

NC central members Ramesh Lekhak and NP Saud are running against the left alliance’s Dipak Prakash Bhatta and Nara Bahadur Dhami from Kanchanpur-3 and 2 respectively for Parliament. Likewise, UML heavyweight Bhim Rawal is in the fray for the parliament from Achham where he has got NC district president Bharat Swanr as his major rival.

“The NC won majority of seats from the province earlier, it is defending its constituencies this time as well, while the left alliance is throwing its weight to surprise its rival by winning the constituencies this time,” he observed.

The total votes of the UML and CPN-MCin recent polls puts the left alliance ahead of Congress in all the districts. However, with more voters added to the previous numbers for the upcoming elections, no one can say for sure who will win.

Among others, construction of West Seti Hydropower project has been the major common election agenda for almost all election candidates representing different parties. Besides, Pancheshwor hydropower project, construction of the proposed dry port in Kanchanpur’s Dodhara Chandani, upgradation of Dhangadi airport and Trinagar customs point are agenda that figure in the priority list of election agenda for most candidates.

As for the candidates of Bajura, Bajhang and Doti, they have once again adopted development of Khaptad as the major poll agenda.

If the past results of local elections are anything to go by, NC had won 39 seats, while UML had claimed victory in 40 seats in the province. Similarly, CPN-MC and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic, which has now merged with the NC, had won 8 and 1 seats respectively.

As per data, 131,959 voters have been added in the nine districts of the province after the local elections this year, taking the total voters to 1,435,673. Kailali has seen the biggest number of additional voters — 57298, with total voters standing now at 460,578.

The province has a total of 1,108 voting stations and 1,780 voting centres to elect 16 parliamentary and 32 provincial seats.