Kathmandu, November 1
The Nepali Congress and Rastriya Prajatantra Party have said their electoral alliance is intact despite the Jhapa-3 first-past-the-post.
Uncertainty had loomed large over the alliance after the NC decided to field its senior leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula in Jhapa Constituency No 3.
The two parties had originally agreed to field RPP General Secretary Rajendra Lingden as a common candidate in Jhapa-3, and NC had included Sitaula in its proportional representation list assigning him the task of spearheading the poll campaign nationwide.
However, after Sitaula expressed dissatisfaction with his inclusion in the PR list and expressed his desire to contest the first-past-the-post elections, the NC removed his name from the PR list and awarded him the ticket from Jhapa-3.
Angered by the NC’s move to field Sitaula from Jhapa-3 ‘violating the agreement’, the RPP then decided at the local-level to align with the left alliance of the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre in Jhapa.
As per the understanding reached between the two sides, the left alliance will support Lingden in Jhapa-3, while the RPP will support the left alliance in other constituencies, according to UML leader Pradeep Gyawali. Already under pressure from the left alliance, the new development has now put the NC in a tight spot in Jhapa.
NC leaders blamed Sitaula’s ‘ego’ for the situation. One senior NC leaders admitted that fielding Sitaula from Jhapa-3 was ‘against the agreement’ reached with the RPP. The NC leader said Sitaula might have changed his mind considering that he might lose his grip on his home constituency forever if he let Lingden contest from there.
In the recently held local-level elections, the NC had faced embarrassing losses in the district, while the RPP had won two rural municipalities. The UML had won the bulk of the local units. “So Sitaula might have thought that even if he lost the election, he would be able to maintain his grip on his home constituency,” the NC leader said. “However, the fact is Sitaula’s ego has jeopardised our prospects in Jhapa.”
The NC leader, however, said the alliance with the RPP was intact for the rest of the country.
Another NC leader Bal Krishna Khand expressed surprise at RPP aligning with the left alliance in Jhapa, and said his party had requested the RPP to reconsider its decision. He also said there was no dispute between the NC and RPP at the central level, and that the alliance was intact.
RPP leader and Minister for Urban Development Dil Nath Giri also said the decision to align with the left alliance in Jhapa was made at the local-level and they were still committed to the agreement reached with the NC. “It is the NC that breached the agreement by fielding Sitaula from Jhapa-3. We are committed to the agreement and the alliance is intact for rest of the country,” he said.
He said since Lingden was the party’s senior leader and Jhapa-3 being a major voters’ base for the RPP, the party could not stop Lingden from running in the poll from there. “Everyone contests elections to win. So we cannot ask Lingden to lose the election after awarding him the ticket,” said Giri.
A version of this article appears in print on November 02, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.