GORKHA, May 19: CPN (Maoist Center), then UCPN (Maoist), had won all three election constituencies of Gorkha in Constituent Assembly (CA) elections of 2008 and 2013. Its leader Baburam Bhattarai, who is now the coordinator of Naya Shakti Nepal, had won one of the constituencies, getting highest number of votes.
Gorkha was a major base of the party during the decade-long Maoist insurgency. But the results of local level polls show that the party has lost its influence in the district as it won only two of the 11 local units - two municipalities and nine rural municipalities. The CPN (Maoist Center) has won the chair of Sahid Lakhan Rural Municipality and Sulikot Rural Municipality. Of the 11 local units, the Nepali Congress (NC) has so won seven so far while counting is underway in two with NC in the lead.
Observers have said that the reason behind the party's poor outing in the local level polls is Bhattarai's decision to leave the party to open Naya Shakti Nepal Party.
However, even Bhattarai couldn't show his charisma in Palungtar Municipality - his birthplace. NC won the mayor, while CPN (Maoist Center) had to content with the post of deputy mayor.
NC's mayoral candidate got 4,698 votes, while his competitor Maoist Center's candidate Biwas Chintan received 4,491 votes. Naya Shakti Nepal's candidate Ashok Devkota could muster only 3,977 votes.
Not only Palungtar, Naya Shakti Nepal's Laxman Gurung also lost the chair of Dharche Rural Municipality to Nepali Congress by 49 votes.
NC made the most of the Maoist split. CPN-UML failed to make any inroads in the district as their performance in the local level election was very poor. The party, however, won few seats in ward offices.
“Voters have trusted our party. Division of the Maoist party also helped us to secure our seats this time around,” Surendra Raj Pandey, a central committee member of NC, told Republica.
Yadu Adhikari, an assistance professor at Gorkha Campus, said that the Maoists lost their legacy and influence in Gorkha district due to party split.