KATHMANDU, Sept 5: The Nepali Congress (NC) has expedited talks with partners in the ruling coalition to form a strategic alliance in constituencies along the East-West Highway in order to isolate the UML in the Province 2 local polls. NC has proposed electoral alliance with the CPN (Maoist Center) and some regional parties in around a dozen local units.
NC's preparation to form strategic poll alliance in Province 2 has been seen as a last ditch effort by the party to bolster its performance while weakening UML.
UML has relatively stronger presence in the northern belt of Province 2. The main opposition party's stance on federal boundaries resounds well among the people of the region dominated by people of hills origin.
NC leaders said the party is putting in extra efforts to win constituencies dominated by the people of hills origin where it is the second-largest force. They said that a coalition with the Maoist Center and the Madhes-based parties will make it extremely challenging for the UML to register victory in the areas dominated by the people of hills origin.
NC is also mulling over forging similar alliances with the Maoist Center and Madhes-based parties in the core Madhesi constituencies to isolate the UML.
The governing party is planning to forge alliances with Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN), Maoist Center, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal and Nepal Loktantrik Forum in around two dozen core Madhesi constituencies.
NC leaders believe that an effective anti-UML alliance in the tarai would not only give the oldest party an edge over other parties but also stop the UML supersede it as the largest party. NC targets to win more than 100 seats in the province, its perceived stronghold.
NC leader and Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Mahendra Yadav claimed that the NC would win 106 local units in Province 2.
"NC has fought for Madhes and Madhesi people for a long time. We have also selected candidates who are known faces in their constituencies. We will win landslides in Province 2," said Yadav.
Maoist Center spokesperson Pampha Bhusal have said that her party, despite being a partner in the coalition government, is seeking electoral alliances with both the ruling parties and the main opposition UML.
"Talks are going on with all the parties. We are analyzing the pros and cons before taking a final call. There could be an alliance with the UML if it helps win us the elections," said Bhusal. She said that the party would take appropriate decision regarding the alliance by Wednesday morning. The political parties are required to file candidacies for the election by Wednesday.
Realizing NC's design to isolate it in the region, UML has been quietly negotiating with the Maoist Center and some Madhes-based parties. UML leaders said that the party is planning to forge electoral alliances in around 20 local units.
UML leader Som Prasad Pandey claimed that the party will emerge as the largest party in Province 2 just like in the first two phases of the local elections with or without electoral alliances with other parties.
"No force in the universe can stop the UML from becoming the largest party in Province 2," said Pandey.