Dissatisfaction in NC over new poll alliance

Published On: May 5, 2017 05:30 AM NPT By: Roshan Sedhai

-A section of NC leadership oppose deal 
-CPN (Maoist Center) likely to benefit more 
-Plans for electoral alliance in Kathmandu, Lalitpur do not materialize

KATHMANDU, May 5: The ruling CPN (Maoist Center) and Nepali Congress parties have forged electoral alliances in Pokhara-Lekhnath and Bharatpur metropolitan cities amid opposition from a section of the NC leadership and cadres on the ground. 

As per the understanding reached between  leaders of the two parties  Thursday, the last day for withdrawing  nominations, NC's Bharatpur mayoral candidate Dinesh Koirala has withdrawn his candidacy followed by the candidacy withdrawal of CPN (Maoist Center) Pokhara-Lekhnath candidate Bishwoprakash Lamichhane. 

Though the leaders of the two parties had also agreed to electoral alliances in Kathmandu and Lalitpur, the mayoral candidates for these cities from neither party have officially withdrawn. 

“Although we were also trying to forge alliances in Kathmandu and Lailitpur, some disputes later emerged,” CPN (Maoist Center) leader Mani Thapa said. 

It is not immediately clear whether there would be similar alliances over other positions, including deputy mayors and ward representatives. Both parties have directed their district leaderships to work on the details of possible alliances for other positions. 

The poll alliance decision came two days after the CPN-UML and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) fielded consensus candidates in Kathmandu metropolitan city.  

A section of the NC leadership has, however, taken strong exception to party President Sher Bahadur Deuba's unilateral decision on an electoral alliance with the third largest party.  

NC senior leader Ramchandra Poudel said it was the party that should have taken decisions regarding the alliance before filing nominations. 

“The decision to forge the alliance has come in the eleventh hour. It should have come earlier. That's the reason for the disgruntlement on the ground,” Poudel told Republica. NC leaders Krishna Sitaula and Shekhar Koirala have also denounced what they call Deuba's unilateral decision. 

The NC leadership thinks that the alliance will only benefit the CPN (Maoist Center).  NC has a strong support base in Bharatpur while the UML is considered strong in Pokhara.  
CPN (Maoist Center) spokesperson Pampha Bhusal said that the party leadership decided to forge the electoral alliance on the basis of ground assessment reports. She said the decision regarding the alliance was taken by  party headquarter. 

“The objective of the alliance with NC is to secure victory in constituencies where the party has a good chance of winning. We picked Chitwan because the party has a better organization there,” said Bhusal. 

The decision sparked strong reaction from local leaders and cadres on the ground. In Chitwan, NC leaders and cadres protested, burning tires and chanting slogans against Deuba.  Though NC's mayoral candidate for Bharatpur Dinesh Koirala had initially announced he would not  withdraw his candidacy, he eventually gave in. 

There was a relatively lesser degree of anger inside CPN (Maoist Center). No leaders have officially or publicly objected to the alliance decision. 

“Initially, there were rumors that the party had relinquished the three metropolitan cities to secure victory in Chitwan. We warned the chairman against making the party a scapegoat to get his daughter elected. He later clarified that there has not been any deal on Kathmandu and Lalitpur,” said a CPN (Maoist Center) leader. 

Dahal's daughter Renu Dahal is the party's mayoral candidate for Bharatpur metropolitan city.

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