BAGLUNG, Oct 31: The political equation of Nepal took a different course when CPN-UML joined hands with CPN (Maoist Center) to form the leftist alliance and agreed to party unification in the near future. The communist forces in the country grew in strength with that decision, and probably for the first time wielded enough power to challenge democratic forces in areas dominated by Nepali Congress (NC), which has historically remained the largest party of Nepal so far.
A perfect example could be Baglung district, which is a traditional stronghold of the ruling NC. As an individual party, both the UML and Maoist Center stands no chance of victory Baglung's constituencies. But together as an alliance, they stand a good chance to challenge the Congress legacy here. The recent turn of events that brought together the two major communist forces has enabled that possibility.
Although the district has solid base of communist supporters, communist parties were not united and NC easily took advantage of such scattered communist influence. Now, as the two biggest communist parties - UML and Maoist Center - are stand united, many believe that NC's legacy in Baglung would meet fierce challenge.
The alliance is also supported by Rastriya Janamorcha. The contest in the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections, therefore, is expected to be neck-to-neck and very interesting.
To counter the leftist threats, NC is heading to the electoral battlefield with Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP). However, RPP does not have strong base support in the district.
In the second Constitution Assembly elections in 2013, NC had won in all the three constituencies of the district making a clean sweep. With the change in political equation, nobody can say for sure who would emerge victorious. But both NC and the leftist alliance are claiming that their victory is already secured.
“As we are the biggest political force here, we have no reason to fear any alliance against us. We can fend off challenges of any alliance,” said NC district president Deependra Bahadur Thapa confidently.
Likewise, Maoist Center leader Krishna KC said that the last local elections have proven that they are the major force in the district. “But as the public's votes do not always go to the same party, we are cautious,” he added.
Unlike in many other districts, there are not much high profile leaders in Baglung. Nonetheless, nobody disagrees that the contest would be thrilling.
Baglung had three election constituencies in the past. It has been revised and now there are two central parliamentary and four provincial areas.
NC is fielding State Minister Champa Devi Khadka of the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation from constituency-1, where there are a total of 86,756 registered voters. She is the only female candidate in the district. UML leader Surya Pathak is contesting the elections as her opponent.
In the provincial elections, NC district president Thapa and UML district chairman Indra Lal Sapkota are contesting from constituency 1 a. Likewise, former CA member Prakash Sharma Paudel is contesting against leftist alliance candidate Krishna Thapa of Rastriya Janamorcha.
For the parliamentary election in constituency-2, the leftist alliance has fielded Maoist Center leader Devendra Paudel, who is being challenged by NC's former CA member Nara Bahadur Pun 'Niraj'.
In the provincial elections from constituency 2 b, the leftist alliance has fielded Maoist Center district joint in-charge Chandra Bahadur Budha. NC youth leader Manjesh Bam Malla is contesting against Budha representing the democratic alliance.