Madhes parties make a comeback

Published On: December 12, 2017 03:27 AM NPT By: Mithilesh Yadav

LAHAN, Dec 12: Nepali Congress (NC) has been recognizing Madhes as its base area. But as the poll results are pouring in from various Madhes districts, the grand old party in the country is facing a humiliating defeat in its own bastion. 

Of the total 32 parliamentary seats under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system in Province 2, the Madhes-based parties--Federal Socialist Forum Nepal and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal--have secured victories in majority of the seats. While RJPN has secured victory in 10 seats, the FSFN has also won 10 seats. 

All the members of the RJPN presidium have been elected. The top leaders Mahantha Thakur (Mahottari 3), Rajendra Mahato (Dhanusha 3), Anil Kumar Jha (Rautahat 1), Sharat Singh Bhandari (Mahottari 2), Raj Kishor Yadav (Siraha 4), and Mahendra Raya Yadav (Sarlahi 2) have been elected to parliament under the FPTP electoral system.
While Mahato defeated NC’s influential leader Bimalendra Nidhi with a margin of 2,914 votes, Jha defeated NC leader Ram Krishna Yadav. Another member of RJPN Presidium Mahendra Raya Yadav defeated NC’s Jangi Lal Yadav. Similarly, another top leader Raj Kishor Yadav defeated Maoist Center candidate Ajaya Shankar Nayak. 

FAFN Chairman Upendra Yadav got elected from Saptari 3, apparently with NC support. As the vote counting continues, Madhes-based parties are leading in most of the remaining constituencies in Madhes.

Analysts say prolonged Madhes movement during the final phase of constitution promulgation back in 2015 has had influence in the election. The votes in Madhes were divided between FSFN and RJPN. 

Madhes affairs expert Tula Narayan Sah said the Madhesi people did not see any difference between NC and leftist parties this election in terms of the agendas. “The votes were divided between those who want to push ahead with the implementation of the constitution without amendment and those who want amendment first,” he said.

Analysts argue that the recent elections can be compared with the elections held in 2008. The three Madhes-based parties had secured 35 of the total 48 seats in Madhes districts in 2008. The NC had to face humiliating defeat when the Madhes-based parties did not fare well back in 2008 elections.

Sah said the votes in Madhes were divided based on political polarization and the agenda of each political party hugely impacted the election results. NC got squeezed between the leftist alliance and Madhesi polarization in Madhes and in the hill districts it became a victim of the left alliance. 

Another Madhes expert Khusi Lal Mandal said NC would be in a position to reap electoral benefits in the hill districts as the UML and the Maoist Center would contest election separately. “While the polarization benefitted leftist alliance and the Madhes-based parties, the double polarization made the NC to suffer a huge loss in the current elections,” he said, adding that the Madhes-based parties were successful in making electoral gains due to recent Madhes movement.

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