Left alliance strong in Ramechhap, but challenges remain

Published On: November 12, 2017 01:21 AM NPT By: MANJU UPRETI

RAMECHHAP, Nov 11: The electoral battle between the left alliance comprising CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) and the 'democratic' alliance comprising Nepali Congress (NC) and other parties has turned very competitive in Ramechhap. Candidates of both alliances expect a tough battle in the upcoming parliamentary and provincial assembly elections. In all previous elections, the contest used to be trilateral as the three major parties - NC, UML and Maoists - would compete against each other. But now the contest is between the two alliances.  

In the recently held local elections, though the three major parties bagged victories in their so called strongholds, UML is ahead in the total vote count followed by NC. The Maoists could secure only the third position. According to political analysts, the left alliance seems stronger than the NC-led alliance in Ramechhap for the parliamentary and provincial polls slated for November 26. However, speculating a clear winner has been challenging for all.  

The left alliance has fielded CPN (Maoist Center) candidate Shyam Kumar Shrestha for the parliamentary elections. For the provincial elections, the party has fielded Shanti Prasad Poudel in constituency (a) and Kailash Dhungel in constituency (b). Likewise, NC has fielded Purna Bahadur Tamang (Kanchharam) for the parliamentary elections. The party's provincial candidates are Ratna Bahadur Karki for constituency (a) and Jit Bahadur Magar for constituency (b). 
All three NC candidates are new faces while the left alliance has picked all old faces. During the CA elections of 2013, Shyam Kumar Shrestha of CPN-UML was elected from Ramechhap after emerging victorious in constituency no.2. He later became a minister of state. 

On the other hand, Kailash Dhungel has contested in the last four elections from the UML, but he has not been able to win. This time, however, the locals feel that luck might favor him. Shanti Prasad Poudel, who was serving as the district chairperson of the party, has a long political career and is determined to win this time.

Despite being new to elections, NC's parliamentary candidate Purna Bahadur Tamang is expected to give a tough challenge to the left alliance. He is popular among the locals for his social activities. His involvement in development related works has earned him a good recognition among the people. 
If the past parliamentary elections are to go by, no party has been able to continue its legacy in the district. NC leaders and candidates say the party had to face defeats in the previous elections due to internal disputes and tussles. But all of them have joined their hands by putting aside all their grudges and bitterness to face the left alliance. 
As there are just two weeks to go before the elections, candidates of both alliances have intensified their campaigns in their respective constituencies. 
 (Photos available in the folder)  

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