Triangular contest in Saptari district

Candidate’s personality, caste, political agenda and power to influence play significant role in winning polls

Rajbiraj, December 1

Three out of four parliamentary constituencies of Saptari district are likely to witness triangular contest in the upcoming polls.

Provincial and parliamentary elections will be held in 45 districts, including in Saptari, on December 7.

Constituencies No 2, 3 and 4 of Saptari are likely to witness triangular contest while Saptari-1 appears to be in for a showdown between the left alliance candidate Ashok Kumar Mandal and Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal’s Surya Narayan Yadav whose party has forged electoral alliance with the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal in Saptari and other districts of Province-2.

The northern part of Saptari-1 has a sizeable chunk of Pahadi (people of hill origin) and Tharu voters and is also considered as a stronghold of the left.

Mandal, who had won from this parliamentary constituency in the 2013 elections does not have majority of his caste in this area, a decisive factor for winning elections in this district, but he has committed votes in his constituency.

FSF-N candidate Yadav is considered a strong contender mainly because he is expected to cash in on the sentiments of the Madhes movement and his own health campaign in this constituency. Southern areas of this electoral district have sizeable population of Yadavs and OBCs, who are likely to vote for Yadav.

Province –2 is likely to witness a three cornered contest involving FSF-N Chair Upendra Yadav, left alliance candidate Umesh Yadav and independent candidate Jay Prakash Thakur.

Yadav, who rose to prominence after the 2007 Madhes movement, has the advantage of cashing in on his image as a national leader who is trying to build a coalition of Madhesis and indigenous nationalities.

Yadav’s opponents have portrayed him as an outsider saying he contested elections from Morang and Sunsari constituencies in the past, but has now shifted to Saptari-3 and is not fully committed to his electorate. Yadav has countered the charge saying Saptari is his birth place.

Thakur, who was Joint General Secretary of Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, quit the party to contest from this constituency after the RJP-N reached a deal with the FSF-N to leave this constituency for FSF-N Chair Upendra Yadav. Umesh Yadav, who had won the second Constituent Assembly election from this constituency, is seen as a leader who tried his best to build infrastructure in the district and help provide relief to people during floods.

Saptari-3 is likely to witness a three-cornered contest between Dinesh Yadav of Nepali Congress, Tarakant Chaudhary of the left alliance and Chandrakant Chaudhary of Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal. Both Tarakant and Chandrakant are brothers and respected in their constituency for their philanthropic work.

Tarakant had won from this constituency in the 2013 CA polls. Saptari-4 is also likely to witness triangular competition between Nepali Congress’ Teju Lal Chaudhary, RJP-N’s Mrigendra Kumar Singh and the left alliance’s Mohammed Islam.

The Yadavs are in majority in this constituency.  Tharu and Muslim communities also have sizable population.

Teju Lal Chaudhari, who had won from this constituency in the 2013 election, hopes to hold on to his seat. He has helped develop some infrastructure project in his constituency.  Mrigendra Kumar Singh also expects to win as he is the joint candidate of two Madhesi forces — the FSF-N and RJP-N. Singh lost the election in 2013 by less than 300 votes mainly because his brother Anirudh Kumar Singh split the vote. Anirudh had secured more than 3,000 votes.  Mrigendra and Anirudh had contested from different Madhesi parties in the 2013 elections.

Muslims are another dominant vote bank in this constituency. Mohmmed Islam expects to capitalise on Muslim votes and some committed votes.

Political analyst Tula Narayan Singh from Saptari said candidates’ personality, their caste, capacity to mobilise resources during polls, political agenda, and power to influence government bodies play a significant role in winning elections in Saptari.

Senior journalist Baidhyanath Jha, however, said caste strength constituted 80 per cent contribution in the electoral victory.