Pokhara, December 1
Bidhya Bhattarai — wife of late Rabindra Adhikari, who had won parliamentary polls on three occasions from Kaski Constitunecy 2 — was elected to the House of Representatives from the same constituency with a huge margin of votes in yesterday’s by-election.
For Bidhya, the victory marks her comeback in politics. Bidhya was elected with 24,394 votes. The seat in Kaski Constituency 2 had fallen vacant after Rabindra was killed in a chopper crash in Taplejung when he was tourism minister on 27 February 2019.
Her rival Nepali Congress leader Khemraj Poudel garnered 15,991 votes. Bhattarai won the polls with a margin of 8,403 votes.
Samajbadi Party-Nepal’s Dharmaraj Gurung stood third with 1,922 votes while Sajha Party had to be satisfied with just 942 votes. Sajha’s candidate Rajanai KC had quit the NC and joined Sajha after the date for by-elections was announced.
Kaski-2 is home to 11 wards of Pokhara Metropolitan City. In the last local level polls, the then CPN-UML had won the polls in most of these wards. The NC had bagged victory in Wards 4, 9 and 11 in the local polls. Of the 11 wards, Nepal Communist Party (NCP)’s Bhattarai had led in nine in the by-election. Nepal Communist Party had led at the NC’s stronghold Ward No 9 with 300 votes.
Khemraj Poudel, 74, of Nepali Congress, was considered the unifying figure in Kaski. Nepali Congress had claimed that Poudel’s candidacy had put an end to factionalism in the party.
Out of total 71,871 registered voters, 45,563 had cast their ballots in the by-election held yesterday. The voter turnout was 63.40 per cent. Six hundred votes were considered invalid.
In the last parliamentary polls, late Rabindra had won the polls with a margin of 8,546 votes. Adhikari had garnered 27,207 votes while his rival NC’s Devraj Chalishe had bagged 18,661 votes.
Bidhya Bhattarai was active in the then CPN-UML’s student wing. After she got married to Rabindra, she had stayed away from politics. She had quit her job of assistant professor at Tribhuvan University and registered her candidacy at Kaski Constituency 2 for the House of Representatives in the by-election.
Bidhya was involved in student politics after enrolling in Padmakanya Campus in Kathmandu after restoration of democracy in the country. Before they tied the knot, Rabindra was general secretary while Bidhya was secretary of All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union affiliated to the then CPN-UML.
“I had stayed away from student politics after marriage at the suggestion of incumbent minister of tourism Yogesh Bhattarai,” said Bidhya.
Bidhya said she would do everything possible to materialise late Rabindra’s dream.
“I feel comfortable to get back into politics as I have political background,” Bidhya stated.
A version of this article appears in print on December 02, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.