Defeated Thapa accuses former king Gyanendra Shah of meddling in election


The Unity General Convention of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party has concluded with the election of Rajendra Lingden as its new chairperson.

In the close 'battle' for the post of party chair, Lingden won the election by a slight difference of 200 votes against former chair Kamal Thapa. It also marked the end of Thapa's years long chairmanship in the party.

Thapa secured 1,617 votes against Lingden's 1,817. Likewise, Dhawal Shumsher Rana has won the election for party secretary-general. Rana belongs to Lingden's panel.

Similarly other supporters of the Thapa panel have secured victory in other positions of the party although Thapa could not save himself.

Buddhiman Tamang, Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan and Roshan Karki have won the position of vice-chairpersons whereas Bhuwan Pathak and Kunti Kumari Shahi have been elected general secretary.

Actress Rekha Thapa, from Lingden's panel, who contested against Shahi for the post of general secretary, also lost the election. A total of 3,873 cadres of the RPP had cast their votes to elect 149 members of the pro-monarchy and pro-Hindu party, yesterday.

Addressing the mass outside the city hall in the capital, after the election result was made public, newly elected Chair Lingden said that with his victory factionalism had ended in the party. "Although this election has rightfully paved the path for new leadership and changes in the party, it does not mean that we will ignore the traditions and significance of tsenior leaders who now do not hold any posts in the party. Let no one feel that they have been defeated because today is the day RPP has won."

Lingden, 58, had been pro-monarch since his early days as his father was a supporter and local leader of the pro-monarchy party before the restoration of democracy through mass revolution of 1989. He was known in his hometown in Jhapa as a dedicated supporter of the king as he led the pro-monarchy student union in his college days.

After college he was also elected ward chair from his hometown at Goldhap in the 1992 and 1997 elections. His popularity skyrocketed after former King Gyanendra Shah took over the power in 2003.

But, coming into national politics was still challenging for him as he was defeated twice from his constituency in Jhapa for the House of Representatives against Krishna Prasad Sitaula of the Nepali Congress. However, in the 2017 general election Lingden finally defeated Sitaula, becoming the only lawmaker from the RPP at the HoR.

After that his popularity grew inside the party. During this general convention, Lingden had raised the issue of power transfer to the new generation. He was also supported by two other chairpersons of the party Pashupati Shumser Rana and Prakash Lohani.

Meanwhile, after the election result was out, Thapa who lost to Lingden, took to social media accepting the result and congratulating Lingden.

"Accepting democratic values and principles, I wholeheartedly accept the defeat in the election. Congratulations to newly elected chair Rajendra Lingden."

Thapa, however, took the opportunity to spit venom against the former monarch accusing the institution of monarchy of directly meddling and interfering in the election. "I condemn the naked intervention of Nirmal Niwas in the party's internal competition," he wrote on Twitter.

A version of this article appears in the print on December 6, 2021 of The Himalayan Times.