RAJBIRAJ, September 7: With the third phase of local elections now just 11 days away, intra-party rifts have widened in the Madhes-based political parties in Saptari district. There have been growing tussles in influential Madhesi parties like Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) and Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN).
Reliable sources have confirmed that the widening rifts are caused by stiff competition among party leaders to win tickets for the third phase of local elections scheduled for September 18. Having observed the performance of the Madhes-based parties in the first and second phase of the local elections, political analysts are of the opinion that such rifts could deprive Madhes-based parties of victories in most of the constituencies of the district.
Registration of candidate nomination is taking place on Wednesday in Saptari in offices of election officers which have been established in all 18 local units of the district. The registration will take place from 10 am to 5 pm, according to District Election Office, Saptari.
The election excitement can be easily seen in the candidates - affiliated with parties or independent. The parties held a meeting till the late hours of Tuesday to finalize their candidates for the local elections, which is taking place after a haitus of almost two decades. Due to intra-party rifts, some candidates would be finalized during candidacy nomination registration on Wednesday itself, according to the leaders.
RJPN finalized its candidates for various positions late on Monday. Before the details were made public officially, the party's central secretary Gajendra Mandal announced his resignation expressing dissatisfaction with candidate selection. He has accused RJPN of sidelining committed cadres who have struggled for the party. Along with Mandal, over 300 leaders and cadres have also reached the conclusion to quit the party, reliable sources have claimed.
A leader of RJPN said, “Although we were formed after the merger of six fringe parties, the leaders cannot stop favoring those people who served their respective parties before the merger, leading to the rift.”
FSFN looks no different from RJPN. Despite tremendous efforts from party leaders, they are unable to finalize the candidates.
Claiming unfairness in ticket distribution, a group of FSFN cadres, on Tuesday morning, attacked the house of the party's central vice-president Renu Kumari Yadav, who is also a former minister. They entered the house and attempted to mishandle Yadav, leading to a clash between Yadav's supporters and the agitators.
“The Madhesi parties are plagued with the same old problems. The level of unity during the protests is missing at the time of elections. This could lead them to defeat,” said political analyst Dr Hem Kumar Mishra.