July 1, 2017 01:40 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, July 1: As vote counting continued in the local units across provinces 1, 5 and 7 for the second day on Friday, Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML maintained a tight race.
Although the UML has bagged some more municipalities as of Friday evening, things may change as vote counting that is still underway in over 300 local units.
The CPN (Maoist Center) is seen doing relatively better this poll as compared to the first phase of the local election. The Madhes-based parties led by Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar and Upendra Yadav have also made a good showing in their stronghold areas.
The UML has bagged 16 mayoral posts, while NC candidates have won mayoral posts in 12 municipalities as of Friday evening. Likewise, the CPN (Maoist Center) has won the chief positions in various 8 rural municipalities and Rastriya Janamorcha has won one local unit.
In deputy chief positions, UML has maintained lead in various 15 local units, while NC is ahead of the UML in 12 local units. Likewise, the Maoist Center and Janamorcha are ahead in the ongoing vote counting in 7 and 1 local unit, respectively.
Major political parties had forged electoral alliance with various political parties even in the second phase of the local elections. Interestingly, CPN (Maoist Center) could bag victory in a local unit in Rukum district even as NC and UML forged their electoral alliance to defeat the party.
The Maoist Center has once again proved Rukum as its stronghold area with the party winning all nine local units in the district. While elections in the six units in the district were held in the first phase, the remaining three units saw election in the second phase polls on Wednesday.
Likewise, UML appears all set to sweep Dhankuta district. While UML already has Khalsa Rural Municipality under its belt, the party's candidates for chiefs are in lead with huge margins in the remaining six other local units in the district.
In Dadeldhura, the home district of NC President and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, NC has lost poll battle to UML candidate in the district's only municipality -- Amargadhi Municipality. Local NC cadres have attributed the loss to intra-party disputes that started after Deuba interfered with the official recommendation of the party's district committee and recommended candidates on his own.