ITAHARI, June 24:Election fever has gripped Itahari Sub-Metropolitan City as the political parties are in the final stage of campaigning in the city for the upcoming local polls slated for June 28.
The city has a total of 77,677 voters. It has been speculated that there will be intense competition between Nepali Congress and CPN-UML for major posts in the sub-metropolis. But the CPN (Maoist-Center), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Nepal Loktantrik Forum (NLF) are also making last-ditch efforts to counter Nepali Congress and CPN-UML.
Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have estimated that they will secure around 15,000 votes in the polls. However, they have also calculated that there is a need of around 20,000 votes for victory. The two major political parties have expected their possible victory if they get 3,000 to 4,000 extra votes.
“I think around 3,000 to 4,000 votes would be decisive for victory,” Himkarna Paudel, chairperson of Nepali Congress Itahari chapter, told Republica. “We have strong candidates than other parties. So, we are sure of victory in Itahari.”
However, UML leader and lawmaker of the same area Rewatiraman Adhikari also said that neutral votes would be decisive for the win. “It is obvious that all parties have been claiming themselves the winner of the mayoral post. But neutral votes would play crucial role in victory,” he said.
Nepali Congress has set a target to win major posts in 8 wards out of 20 wards. NC leaders have claimed that they have strong candidates who have led the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI).
UML leaders also claim that they will win the mayoral and deputy mayoral posts and secure majority in maximum wards. “Our mayoral and deputy mayoral candidates are strong contenders as they have been involved in long-term politics and are also renowned,” said UML lawmaker Bhandari. He estimated that the UML will secure victory in 14 wards and also secure the posts of mayor and deputy mayor.
As RPP had secured third position in the Constituent Assembly elections in this area, it has also built good strategy to get maximum votes. According to RPP leader Ramu Pokharel, they will maintain lead in 6 wards out of 20.
“Nepali Congress and UML are facing internal conflict regarding candidate selection process. This conflict will be used as a base for our victory,” said Pokharel.
He said that they have explained party's mission and agenda to the voters and that has ensured their victory.
FSFN has also maintained its influence in the city. The party has made strategy to get respectable votes. The party has been participating in the polls with electoral alliance with the Naya Shakti Nepal.
“We have registered candidacies in 10 out of 20 wards. But we are a bit confident that we will secure victory in mayoral and deputy mayoral posts,” said FSFN leader Padam Adhikari.
Likewise, Maoist Center has also made strategy to come as third largest party in the local polls. Fielding a single female candidate for mayoral post, the Maoist leaders have claimed that she will get respectable votes.
“Other parties have fielded female candidate for the post of deputy mayor but we have registered female candidate for the mayoral post,” said Maoist Center leader Saraswati Pokharel.
Kobidchandra Karki, a leader of NLF, said that his party will win in five wards of Itahari. “During our door-to-door campaign, we received huge support from the public. We are confident of getting few seats,” said Karki.