Election fever grips Sunsari

Sunsari, November 20

Election fever has gripped Sunsari of late as incumbent and former ministers prepare for a tough battle in the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections slated for December 7 in the district.

The district has a total of four constituencies and deputy prime minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar and finance minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki are contesting parliamentary seats from constituencies 3 and 4 respectively, representing Nepali Congress, while senior leader of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Ashok Rai is running on behalf of the NC-led democratic alliance from Constituency-1.

Former tourism minister and CPN-UML secretary Bhim Acharya, who is seen as the potential chief minister of the province, is contesting for a provincial assembly seat from Constituency-1 ‘kha’.

As of now, a tight election race is expected between the left and democratic alliances in the district. While, the left alliance has an edge over the democratic alliance in constituencies 1 and 2, democratic alliance is reckoned to be on a better footing in Constituency No 3.

In Sunsari-4, however, both the alliances are said to be in a neck and neck competition. According to political analysts, odds are better for the left alliance’s parliamentary candidate Jaya Kumar Rai from Constituency-1 against the democratic alliance’s candidate Rai given the former’s popularity among local voters and the advantage he would get from the sound organisational base of the party here.

Similarly, organisational strength of the party and its electoral success in the recently held local elections are expected to give left alliance candidate Dambar Subedi considerable leverage n the upcoming election from Sunsari-2, against his rival Sitaram Mehata of the democratic alliance.

In Constituency-3, Congress is reckoned to be in a better position now after Gachhadar — who as the chairperson of the Madhes-based party then had won the constituency in the second Constituent Assembly election — has now joined the Nepali Congress and is contesting from here as the democratic alliance’s candidate. He had eked out victory against his rival UML’s Bhagawati Chaudhary in the 2013 CA polls by just a meagre margin of 362 votes. Chaudhary is contesting against Gachhadar this time as well, on behalf of the broader alliance with CPN-Maoist Centre.

Otherwise considered to be in a neck and neck competition, NC’s parliamentary candidate Gyanendra Karki in Sunsari-4 is believed to weigh on UML’s Ramesh Shrestha in the upcoming election by some, given the results of the local elections this year when Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal and NC candidates claimed victory from the constituency. FSF-N has supported democratic alliance candidate Karki here.

“As our candidates are better, we are expecting to win at least three parliamentary seats and majority of the provincial seats from the district,” said NC Sunsari president Rajiv Koirala, while UML district chair Ramesh Basnet said his party was for defending its bastion. “We will win all four constituencies this time as well,” he said, adding that his party has prepared an effective election strategy this time learning lessons from the mistakes made during the civic polls earlier. Sunsari has four parliamentary and eight provincial seats.