GULMI, Nov 5: A couple of the most interesting battles of the upcoming elections is taking place in Gulmi, where four central-level leaders of the country's big political parties are contesting against each other.
The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) has fielded two popular, central level leaders in the elections. The main opposition CPN-UML of the leftist alliance, too, has fielded two of its central secretaries. The hotly-contested election battle in the district has drawn people's attention and will be watched all over the country with keen interest.
The first round of parliamentary and provincial elections will be held on November 26, now just 21 days away. Likewise, the second round of elections is scheduled for December 7.
UML has fielded its central secretary Pradeep Gyawali in constituency-1 for the parliamentary elections. He faces NC's central level leader Chandra Bhandari. The constituency has a total of 105,423 voters.
Likewise, another old face Gokarna Bista of UML is contesting the elections from constituency-2 of the district. He has been contesting the elections since 1999 parliamentary elections. Contesting against him is NC's Chandra KC, who is considered an influential leader in the central committee of his party.
Gyawali and Bhandari are contesting against each other for the third time in a row now. Gyawali was elected as parliamentarian from constituency-2 in the 1999 elections after overcoming his opponent Chandra Bhandari by around 700 votes.
In the Constitution Assembly elections of 2008, Gyawali faced his current opponent Bhandari and beat him by around 2,200 votes. When the duo faced each other in 2013 CA elections, Bhandari had his revenge by overcoming Gyawali by about 2,500 votes.
Based on the results of the last local elections, the leftist alliance looks stronger. However, being an influential leader, Bhandari is expected to pull a large number of votes in his favor, giving a tough challenge to his opponent.
“Gyawali is an old leader. When someone wins every time, it hinders development. That is why I'm contesting this election against him,” said Bhandari.
In constituency-2, UML candidate Bista is vying in the elections for the fourth time while it is the second time for NC's KC. Among the two, Bista seems to have more influence in the district as a leader working for the development of Gulmi.
“I have been working in the field of education, health, drinking water, road, electricity and various projects in the last five years,” said Bista.
His opponent KC shared a similar tale. “We have development projects and various programs in our mind if we get elected,” he said, adding that he was confident of his victory. There are a total of 90,917 voters in constituency-2.
The district has a total of two parliamentary and four provincial constituencies. At the provincial level, the left alliance has shared the election seats equally between the UML and the CPN (Maoist Center). On the other hand, NC has fielded its candidates in all seats of the parliamentary and provincial level elections.