Chitwan-3 both challenge, opportunity for CPN MC Chair Dahal

CHITWAN: CPN Maoist Centre (CPN MC) Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal is contesting the parliamentary election from Constituency No. 3 of his home district Chitwan.

Dahal who is contesting the election from his home district for the first time has challenges as well as opportunities.

The Bandarmude incident in which 38 people were killed and 75 others were left injured when the then Maoist rebels ambushed an overcrowded bus in Madi, Chitwan, on June 6, 2005 has aroused controversy surrounding Dahal. Likewise, Dahal's daughter Renu Dahal being elected as mayor of Bharatpur after forming electoral alliance with Nepali Congress (NC) in the Local level elections and the assurance from Dahal to NC candidate Dinesh Koirala after his withdrawal from the nomination for the post of mayor have posed challenge to the CPN MC Chairperson. Likewise, Dahal face other challenges as there is no candidate from CPN-UML even after forming electoral alliance in Province 'B' of Chitwan Constituency No. 3.

As the large number of people from Gorkha, Lamjung, Tanahun among other hilly districts have settled in Chitwan after being displaced during the decade-long Maoist conflict, it is another downside for CPN MC Chair Dahal.

Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Democratic (RPP-D) Vice President and Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation Bikram Pandey is the main competitor of Dahal in the upcoming election. Pandey is vying in the backup of NC, the party which had won an election with majority in 2013 in the Constituency No. 3. The Contituency No. 4 and 5 of the immediate past have been combined to form the Constituency No. 3.

The advantage for Dahal is that he is capable of motivating people from intellectual class which comprises the majority of voters in the fast developing district. Dahal has upper hand since there is no candidate of NC in the Constituency No. 3. If the CPN MC chair got the votes from few more NC supporters it could help him win the election.

The Constituency No. 3 comprises 19 of the total 29 wards of Madi Municipality and Bharatpur Metropolis. In the local level elections, Nepali Congress won in 11 wards, CPN-UML in five and CPN MC only in three wards in the 19 wards.

The CPN MC received a total of 17,508 votes consisting 13,636 votes from the 9 wards of Bharatpur Metropolis and 3,872 votes from Madi. Likewise, CPN-UML received a total of 24,956 votes including 21,130 votes from the 19 wards of Bharatpur Metropolis and 3,826 votes from Madi. In total, the left alliance has 42,464 votes while Democratic Alliance has total 35,307 with NC's total 27,066 votes including 23,237 votes of Bharatpur and 3,829 of Madi, and RPP's 8,341 votes. Consequently, the Left alliance exceeds Democratic alliance by 7,157 votes.

As many as 41,033 voters have been added after the local level elections, in Chitwan district. There were 313,002 voters in the local level elections. There are now altogether 354,035 voters including 184,069 females, 169,965 males and a third gender voter for the elections to the House of Representatives and State Assemblies in Chitwan district, the District Election Office (DEO) informed.

In the Constituency No. 1 and No. 2 there are 119,198 and 108,219 voters respectively, the DEO informed. The Constituency No. 1 comprises Rapti, Khairahani and Ratnanagar Municipality while Constituency No. 2 comprises Kalika Municipality, Ichchhakamana Rural Municipality, Bharatpur Municipality ward no. 1, 2, 3, 4,5,7,11,12 and 29. Likewise, the Constituency No. 3 includes Madi Municipality and Bharatpur Municipality ward no. 6, 8, 9, and ward no. 13 to 28.

There is possibility that Dahal would emerge victorious with majority in the election. Dahal still face challenges in view of RPP-D's candidate Pandey's popularity in Chitwan. It is yet to see the result after December 7.

CPN MC Chair Dahal became the first prime minister of Republican Nepal after being elected the first time from Rolpa and Kathmandu and he became the PM for the second time after being elected from Siraha.