Renewed battle between old foes

Rajbiraj, November 15

Though they are the same old faces, the upcoming election in Saptari Constituency No 4 is certain to be an interesting watch given the competition between a former and an incumbent minister.

While a total of 14 candidates have filed their candidacies for parliamentary seats from the constituencies, a three-way fight among former minister Mrigendra Kumar Singh Yadav from the Madhesi alliance, incumbent sports state minister Tejulal Chaudhary from Nepali Congress and Mohammad Islam from the left alliance is shaping up.

While Chaudhary had been elected from then Constituency No 5 during the second Constituent Assembly election, Yadav and Islam had lost. Yadav, who had won almost every election prior to the 2013 CA polls, and Islam had contested from then Constituency No 6 representing Nepal Democratic Forum and Dalit Janajati Party respectively.

Then NFD leader Yadav had defected to Sadbhawana Party after his party’s decision to join the government during the Madhes agitation. “As he (the former NFD leader) had a good voter base, the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal brought him to the party and awarded him the election ticket,” said a local RJP-N leader, who said there were chances of him winning given the alliance between the two major Madhesi forces.

NC’s candidate Chaudhary is not a weak candidate, either. He won in the second CA poll and is a popular leader in the locality. While he is from a well-to-do family, Chaudhary is also expected to gain bonus vote from his own Tharu community.

For Islam, it is going to be his third election race. Having been employed for long abroad, he came to limelight all of a sudden as a candidate in the past CA election.

After his loss in the CA election, he had set up a new party named Dalit Ulpidan Mukti Morcha under his leadership. But, as the party failed to take off, he decided to contest for mayorship of Bodebarsain municipality. He lost. This time he is contesting on behalf of the left alliance on the condition that he will join the UML after the polls. He is deliberating his chances of winning with the help of Muslim voters.

Saptari-4 comprises Khadak, Surunga and Bodebarsain municipalities and Balanbihul rural municipality. While FSF-N had won 3 out of 4 local units, NC had won in Surunga Municipality in the district.