UDMF protests fail to dampen election spirit in Province 2

Published On: April 1, 2017 03:41 AM NPT By: SURESH YADAV, RITESH TRIPATHI and UPENDRA YADAV

JANAKPUR/BIRGUNJ/BARA, March 31: Even as the Madhes-centric parties remain undecided over contesting the upcoming local elections, the election fever is gradually gripping the protest-hit Province 2 with the poll date approaching fast.

Leaders and cadres of the major political parties have already begun their pre-poll consultations before fielding their candidates officially. Locals, party leaders and cadres alike are excited to be the part of the election, which is taking place after a hiatus of nearly 20 years.

The Madhesi alliance, the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), is preparing to organize protests aimed at disrupting the election environment in Dhanusa district. However, their attempts have so far failed to bear fruits as people's enthusiasm for the election is growing. The growing enthusiasm and keen anticipation of the upcoming election could not be dampened in Dhanusa and various other districts of Province 2.

The main political parties are busy preparing themselves for the upcoming election slated for May 14. While the Nepali Congress (NC) said it will start full-fledged preparations for the election in Dhanusa from the next week, CPN-UML leaders informed Republica that they have already started their election campaigns at village, ward and district levels.

The ruling CPN (Maoist Center) seems to be in the forefront of election preparation in the district. The party's district chairman Jhalku Yadav said they have set up a 25-member Election Mobilizing Committee in Mithila Municipality, a 5-member Booth Committee and a 51-member Promotion Committee.

“We have been holding meetings in the villages and municipalities on a daily basis as formal preparation for the election. Meetings of our sister organizations, Dalits and Farmers affiliated to the party are being carried out smoothly,” he informed Republica.

Three leaders from NC and two each from Maoist Center and UML are said to be vying for the post of mayor Janakpur Sub-metropolitan City. Manoj Yadav, municipal President of NC, Shyam Prasad Shah, former president of district-chapter of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI); and Nirmal Chaudhary, former member of FNCCI; have been dubbed as the potential candidates from the NC. However, NC has not officially declared the candidates.

UML's district chairman Raj Kishwar Yadav informed Republica that two leaders - the party's regional chairman Suryadhan Yadav and municipal chairman Umesh Sah - have expressed interest in the mayoral post. From the Maoist Center, Phulgen Sah and Kameshwar Mahato have expressed their desire to fight the election for the post, according to the party's district chairman Jhalku Yadav.

On the other hand, Pramod Yadav, district coordinator of UDMF, said they will disrupt the election if the constitution amendment bill is not endorsed before the election.

Meanwhile in Bara and Parsa districts, intra-party competition to win candidacies for the post of mayor and deputy mayor has intensified of late. Two sub-metropolitan cities of Bara - Jeetpur Simara and Kalaiya - have seen numerous interested leaders fighting the decisive battle to win candidacies of their respective parties. Bara has two sub-metropolitan cities, four municipalities and nine rural municipalities.

The fight for candidacy is high among NC, UML and Maoist Center. On the other hand, the same enthusiasm is not observed in the Madhes-centric parties including the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party and Sadbhavana Party as the Madhesi alliance UDMF is at odds over participating in the election.

Unsurprisingly, the Bara and Parsa chapters of UDMF have issued stern warnings against holding the elections. UDMF Bara leader Pramod Gupta said if the government holds the election without fulfilling their demands, they will take action against candidates of the participating parties, including that of NC, UML and Maoist Center.

Likewise, the fight to win the candidacy for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor of Birgunj Sub-metropolitan City is also fierce among the parties participating in the upcoming election.

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