KATHMANDU, Dec 11: Although the electoral alliance between the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) in the parliamentary and provincial assembly polls has landed a landslide victory for the left alliance across the country, two senior leaders who took lead role to make it possible have lost the elections
UML Vice Chairman Bam Dev Gautam and senior CPN (Maoist Center) leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha had initiated the idea and constantly nudged their respective party leaderships to forge the electoral alliance and eventually unite the two leftist forces to create a strong leftist political force in the country.
Top leaders of both the UML and Maoist Center were initially skeptical about the idea, but Gautam and Shrestha were finally able to convince them, assuring them of the immediate electoral gains and long-term benefits for the left parties in Nepal.
Only a few key leaders of the UML and the Maoist Center were aware of the development until the issue reached the UML’s standing committee meeting and Maoist Center’s secretariat meeting in early October. UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli had entrusted the party’s Deputy General Secretary Bishnu Paudel while Maoist Center Chairman had given the then Home Minister Janardan Sharma the responsibilities to hold ‘quiet negotiations’ to finalize the deal after Gautam and Shrestha were successful to convince them to enter the electoral alliance and eventual party unification .
As expected, the idea of electoral alliance worked for the two parties. Together, the UML and the Maoist Center appear headed for two-thirds majority both in parliamentary and provincial elections.
But ironically, Gautam and Shrestha themselves lost the parliamentary elections. While Gautam was defeated by his rival from Nepali Congress (NC) Sanjaya Gautam in Bardiya constituency 1, Shrestha was defeated by Naya Shakti Nepal Coordinator Baburam Bhattarai in Gorkha constituency 2.
Gautam secured a total 44,076 votes against his rival’s 44,829. Similarly, Shrestha was defeated by Bhattarai with a wide margin. While Bhattarai secured 31,807 votes, Shrestha was limited to 24,933 votes.
Shortly after his defeat was announced on Sunday, UML Vice Chairman Gautam said he was not disappointed by his defeat. “In my capacity as a key architect of the left alliance, I am extremely happy with the resounding victory of the alliance. I feel highly encouraged to see the huge affection expressed by voters toward the left alliance,” he has said in a statement.
Shrestha said although he personally had to face defeat he was happy with the electoral success of the left alliance. “I always put my efforts in favor of the left alliance and unity among communist parties in Nepal. Although I personally had to face defeat, I am really happy with the resounding victory of the left alliance. This is a big victory for me,” he said.
Shrestha announced that he would keep himself active to realize the socialist-oriented economy as envisaged in the new constitution and to make the unity process between the two left parties successful.