Left alliance still unable to finalise FPTP seats

Kathmandu, October 11

The task force formed by the left alliance — including the CPN-UML, CPN-Maoist Centre and Naya Shakti Party-Nepal — to finalise constituency sharing and candidate selection for the upcoming elections is struggling to come up with a decision.

Led by UML leader Ishwor Pokhrel, the task force was to finalise constituency sharing within three days of formation on October 5. However, it has failed to complete the task even after a week of meetings ‘because of differences within the alliance’.

According to a source, some UML leaders have protested the party’s decision to allocate 40 per cent seats to the CPN-MC, stating that the party does not deserve it. “Also, CPN-MC leaders have complained that the UML has kept seats where it is sure to win and allocated seats where its victory is uncertain to the CPN-MC,” the source said.

UML leader and member of the task force Shankar Pokhrel said he did not know if some lower-rung UML leaders were against the party’s decision to allocate 40 per cent seats to the CPN-MC, but the top leadership was clear about it and would stick to the decision.

He also denied that the UML had kept constituencies where it was sure to win with itself and left those constituencies where its victory was not assured for the CPN-MC. “We have the aim of garnering two-thirds majority in the Parliament. How will this be possible if we let the CPN-MC lose the election?,” he asked. “These are just rumours.” Pokhrel said the task force would finalise constituency sharing and candidate selection within three days.

Another UML leader Bishnu Paudel, however, said there are no differences among alliance partners. “The agreement of 60:40 seat sharing will be implemented strictly,” he said, adding that the task force would allocate constituencies and select candidates on the bases of criteria the party had developed considering its performance in past elections and the influence of individual leaders.

Another CPN-UML leader Surya Thapa said, “The task force is doing its job and will come up with a decision within a few days.”

UML leaders Ishwor Pokhrel, Shankar Pokhrel and Surendra Pandey; CPN-MC leaders Ram Bahadur Thapa, Barshaman Pun and Matrika Yadav; and NSP-N leader Ganga Shrestha are members of the task force.

Meanwhile, Naya Shakti Party-Nepal’s Coordinator Baburam Bhattarai will contest election from Gorkha district’s Constituency No 2, according to his aide Bishwadeep Pandey.

“There has not been any proposal regarding Bhattarai’s candidacy from Kathmandu as reported. Bhattarai will contest the election from Gorkha 2 and he will not backtrack from this stand,” he said.