Nidhi, Mahato brace for close contest in Dhanusha-3

Janakpurdham, December 2

Dhanusha voters are keenly watching the parliamentary elections of Dhanusha -3 constituency as two top leaders Bimalendra Nidhi from the Nepali Congress and Rajendra Mahato from the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal are contesting from this constituency.

Nidhi who has repeatedly won from this constituency  is seen as an influential NC leader with the potential of becoming NC’s prime ministerial candidate in future. He also has an organisational advantage and  legacy of his father late Mahendra Narayan Nidhi, who had won first parliamentary election from Dhanusha in 1959.

Nidhi is also credited for his unwavering commitment to democracy. He went to  jail repeatedly during the Panchayat regime for the cause of democracy. He has the backing of party’s committed voters and also the upper caste such as Kayasthas, Brahmins and Bhhumihars.

But there only around 11,000 Kayastha voters in this constituency. Middle-class voters of this constituency have complained that Nidhi does not have time to listen to their grievances.

RJP-N leader Rajendra Mahato’s major advantage is that he is seen as a bold leader who speaks for Madhesis without having any fear of his opponents.

“Police killed Madhesi protesters when Nidhi  was the home minister but he did not punish the police nor did he resign. Mahato was injured when police attacked him in Biratnagar,” said Jivachh Sah, a voter of Janakpur Sub-metropolis-17.

Sukan Mukhiya, a voter of the same Ward said Nidhi was elected from Dhanusha constituency repeatedly yet he did not do anything to develop Janakpur. “All the infrastructure projects that Nidhi brought in this district was in his own constituency,” Mukhiya added. Nidhi’s original constituency has expanded to Janakpurdham as the number of constituencies was brought down this year.

Mahato’s advantage is that he is seen as truly committed Madhesi leaders who risked his own life during protest. This is a constituency where caste matters a lot and there are 34,000 Sah voters (including Teli, Sudi, Kanu,  Kalbar and Halwai) the largest ethnic group. Mahato belongs to this community.

Janakpur is one of the major places of Madhes where the sentiment of Madhes movement runs high. RJP-N’s mayoral candidate won the race recently with the margin of 9,000 votes. These are the factors that attracted Mahato to file his candidacy from this constituency. But there are some factors that might prove to be a disadvantage for him.

Mahato, originally from Sarlahi, had lost the 2013 Constituent Assembly poll from his home constituency of Sarlahi.