‘Left alliance formation led to NC’s loss’

Congress leaders say PR vote results suggest people’s faith in the party remains intact

Kathmandu, Dec 16

As vote counting under the proportional representation electoral system nears conclusion, Nepali Congress leaders have concluded that the major reason for the party’s crushing defeat in the parliamentary and provincial elections was the formation of the left alliance comprising two big communist parties.

They, however, said intra-party conflicts, failure to forge ‘democratic alliance’ and negative message disseminated by the government’s decisions such as impeachment motion against the chief justice and the IGP appointment episode were also responsible for the party’s discouraging performance.

The UML is leading the PR vote count with 3,161,295 votes, the NC has garnered 3,111,643 votes and the CPN-Maoist Centre has 1,295,903 votes. Madhes-based parties — Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal and Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal have secured 469,461 and 470,486 votes, respectively.

PR vote counting for 76 of 77 districts was completed this evening. Now the result from Sarlahi is being awaited.

“The PR figures suggest we have not lost our voters. But the FPTP results call for serious introspection,” said senior NC leader Shekhar Koirala, adding that intra-party feuds and failure of the ‘democratic alliance’ also resulted in loss for the party even in constituencies where the left alliance was weaker. “The democratic alliance, in fact, was never there. We allocated seats to other parties, but they never reciprocated.”

Koirala also said the party should not delay in convening the Central Working Committee meeting to ‘seriously’ review the electoral loss and this should be followed by the Maha Samiti meet ‘which is long due’. “These two meets will chart our future course of action and address our weaknesses,” he said, adding that people were watching the NC’s actions keenly and the party should hold these meetings as soon as possible.

Koirala, however, said the NC should now be ready to play the role of a ‘responsible opposition’ as people had voted for the left alliance. As an opposition, the party should support the good decisions of the government and warn against any work that might be against national interest.

Another senior NC leader Keshav Kumar Budathoki expressed a similar view. He said had the NC been able to forge a ‘democratic alliance’ the results would not have been that dismal. “There have been mistakes on our part, which we will analyse seriously,” he said.

Budathoki said party leaders would expedite informal meetings and hold talks from tomorrow in relation to the election results before the CWC and Maha Samiti meetings. “As the PR results suggest we have not yet lost people’s faith, discussions will focus on how to consolidate on that and strengthen the party.” He also said the NC would respect the people’s mandate and play the role of  a ‘responsible opposition’ in the new Parliament.

The NC, which had emerged as the single largest party in the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013, has now won just 23 of 165 parliamentary first-past-the-post seats. In the provincial FPTP elections, the party won just 41 of 330 seats.

The left alliance swept both the parliamentary and provincial FPTP elections, winning a combined 116 parliamentary seats (UML’s 80 and CPN-MC’s 36) and 241 provincial seats (UML’s 167 and CPN-MC’s 74).

A total of 110 members are elected through PR electoral system to the federal parliament and 220 members to the provincial assemblies.