DOLAKHA, Oct 30: As the day for the upcoming elections nears, Dolakha district too is gripped by the election fever which is spreading across the country. An interesting and intense battle will be unfolding at the polling centers in the district, the locals expect.
The history of election victories in post-Panchayat era shows that none of the major political parties have managed to stay firm in Dolakha. When there were two constituencies in the district, Nepali Congress (NC) had won constituency-1 in 1994 elections. In 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, the CPN (Maoist Center) had won both constituency-1 and constituency-2. Apart from these elections, CPN-UML has emerged victorious in all the elections.
This time, there is only one seat for Member of Parliament from the whole district, which has a total of nine rural municipalities. Likewise, there are two seats for the provincial assembly.
The left alliance formed between the CPN-UML and Maoist Center is fielding one candidate each for the three total seats. On the other hand, NC which leads the democratic alliance has chosen to field only its own candidates in each seat. Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) are NC's electoral partners in the right alliance.
NC has fielded its district president Rudra Bahadur Khadka for the parliamentary elections. Khadka is being challenged by former parliamentarian and UML central member Parvat Gurung, representing the leftist alliance.
While NC and the left alliance are the major challengers for the seat, small political parties including Bibeksheel Sajha Party have also fielded their candidates for the seat.
For provincial elections, NC has fielded Burma Lama from area (a), while the left alliance has fielded Maoist Center leader Bishal. In area (b), UML politburo member Pashupati Chaulagain is contesting against NC's Keshab Raj Chaulagain.
The contest, both in parliamentary and provincial elections, is set to be interesting considering NC's Khadka and UML's Gurung were once business partners. So the locals say the contest is bound to have neck-to-neck competition. Whoever emerges victorious, the vote difference is likely to be low.
Khadka is a well-known figure in the district. He was District Development Committee's president representing NC in 1992 for five years. His counterpart Gurung emerged a decade ago and is also the winner of 2013 CA elections, which is one of the milestones of his political career. Both of them are the locals of Gaurishankar Rural Municipality.
The provincial election is more intense in area (a), with tough competition between the left and democratic alliances. As the left alliance has fielded Maoist Center candidate, UML cadres in the area are furious especially because they think they are the dominant force there and they also feel victimized by the Maoists.
The area is known for the murder of UML leader Buddhiman Pakhrin during the conflict period. A court case filed by UML against 39 leaders of Maoist Center is still undecided in the district court.
NC candidate Lama looks forward to taking advantage of the tussle in the left alliance in that area. Although UML forged an electoral alliance with the Maoist Center, Lama is confident that UML voters, too, will vote for him as they have suffered terribly from the hands of the Maoists in that area.