PANCHTHAR, Oct 29: As the major political parties prefer to field established leaders for elections rather than take a risk with untried ones, the election battles in Panchthar district are set to be dominated by the same old faces again.
The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) is fielding its central committee member Bhishmaraj Angdembe for the upcoming parliamentary elections from the district. The NC candidate's prospects are being boosted by the electoral alliance with Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN).
Victory, however, will not be easy even for an old hand like Angdembe with his own huge influence and the support of electoral alliance partners. Another 'heavyweight' stands in his way. The main opposition CPN-UML is fielding Basanta Nembang, a party influential and secretary of the party's water resources department.
Aside from his own leadership profile, Nembang has emerged as a strong contender also due to support from CPN (Maoist Center), which is in the leftist alliance with UML. The alliance is counting on Nembang to snatch victory from NC and the alliance it heads.
Angdembe, a local of Phalgunanda Rural Municipality, had gotten over his defeat in the first Constitution Assembly (CA) elections after winning Panchthar constituency-2 in the second CA poll of 2013. Since then, he has been climbing up the political ladder and expanding his influence.
His closest rival Nembang is a former parliamentarian who was elected from constituency-1 in the 1999 elections. Nembang is from Phidim Municipality and has investments in hydropower projects.
Angdembe and Nembang are both now busy electioneering in the villages. The competition between the two is expected to be head-on.
Meanwhile, the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal is fielding a new face, Prem Kumar Lawati, for the parliamentary elections. Likewise, Federal Limbuwan Forum is fielding its leader Sagar Kerung. He is contesting in elections for the first time.
Bhagirath Chemjong from Rastriya Janamukti, Shanta Sigu from RPP Nationalist, Dil Bahadur Lawati from Naya Shakti and Tomraj Thamsuhang from Mangol National Party are also entirely new faces in the parliamentary elections.
NC and the leftist alliance are also the main competitors in the provincial assembly elections. Senior leaders are contesting from both sides. This has made it difficult to predict the outcomes.
NC has fielded its district chairman Narendra Kumar Kerung in constituency-1 a and Surendra Dahal in 1 b.
The UML-Maoist Center alliance has fielded central advisor council member Ganesh Kambang in constituency 1 a. Central committee member of Maoist Center Indra Aangbo has been given the election ticket for 1 b. Again, nobody is sure which side will grab the glory in the provincial elections.