Janakpur voters want both Mahato and Nidhi in parliament

Published On: December 1, 2017 06:15 AM NPT By: Suresh Yadav

JANAKPUR, Dec 1: Voters of Dhanusha-3 are in a dilemma - who to choose between Bimalendra Nidhi and Rajendra Mahato - as they believe that both leaders have equal contribution to and strength for raising the issue of political rights to the Madhesi people in the national parliament. 

"Nidhi's presence in the national parliament is no less important than Mahato's when it comes to giving rights to the Madhesi people. Mahato took to the streets and Nidhi lobbied for addressing the demand from parliament in the past," said a local intellectual requesting not to be named. When asked who would win - Nidhi or Mahato - the 72-year man with surname Sah found at a tea shop at Piradi Chowk of Janakpur on Thursday, said that both leaders have made equal contribution to the Madhesi cause. "Had it not been for Nidhi, I doubt if the Nepali Congress (NC) would raise the Madhes issue," he added. 

Like the septuagenarian, voters of all walks of life in this constituency are perplexed to choose their representative as two heavyweights - NC senior leader Nidhi and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) presidium member Mahato - are contesting against each other. 

Hari Raut, 32, had participated in the protests and rallies actively during the 2015 Madhes agitation and also sustained a minor injury. But he refrained from joining the election campaign of any candidate though he admits his loyalty to the Madhes-based political parties. "I see the importance of both Nidhi and Mahato for the Madhes agenda. I am confused as to who to support and who to criticize," he said. 

Professor Surendra Labh, who has been observing Madhes issues closely for long, said that the race between Nidhi and Mahato is 'unfortunate for Madhes.' 

"It would have been wise if they had contested from two separate constituencies. But as they are contesting from the same constituency, Madhes will lose one important representative in parliament which is unfortunate," he said. 

With the election less than a week away, election fever has gripped the cultural city which has also been proposed as the capital of Province 2. But many intellectuals including Labh worry about the division and rivalry in the youth while taking the side of the two influential leaders. 

"The youths have been setting a bad culture in the name of taking the side of one of the two leaders. It will take a long time to fix such divisions in the youths," he added. 
Top political activists during the Madhes agitation, Tula Narayan Sah and Dipendra Jha prefer to remain silent about the race between Nidhi and Mahato. "It is better not to talk who is influential in this constituency because this is believed to be the toughest race in Province 2," Jha said. 

Political commentator Chandrakishor said that such race helps the voters to take the right decision and understand the importance of their vote. "It is true that voters in this constituency are confused about choosing their representative," he said adding that the voters will get an opportunity to weigh the two candidates on the basis of their past contribution and future potential. 

Four-time minister Nidhi has won most of the elections after 1994 except in 1999 from this constituency. But three-time minister Mahato lost three polls after 1990 including in 2013. 

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