NC, UML vie for poll alliances

Published On: September 1, 2017 02:22 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Aug 31: The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and the main opposition UML have separately reached out to CPN (Maoist Center) and Madhes-based parties with offer of electoral alliance for the upcoming third phase of the local polls.  

The first and second largest parties in parliament are putting in extra efforts to bolster their performance in Province 2 in the final and decisive phase of the local polls in Province 2 scheduled for September 18.

NC, which was reduced to the second largest force in the first two phases of the elections, is counting on the eight districts of the central tarai, the party's supposed stronghold, to retain its title of largest party. 

UML, the second largest party in the CA, appears determined to create history by becoming the largest party in the historic polls.

CPN (Maoist Center) and Madhes-based parties, important players in regional politics, have also made this election a prestige issue. The regional parties are expected to give strong competition to major parties due to overwhelming public support on their political agendas pertaining to constitution amendment.
UML Secretary Pradeep Gyawali said that the party is open to forming alliances with any parties. He said that the party leaders were in discussion with various parties for the alliance.
"But electoral alliance with the NC is not likely since the party is our main rival in Province 2. However, we are still open about forming electoral alliances with all the parties," UML Secretary Pradip Gyawali told Republica on Tuesday.  

Talking to reporters in Dhangadhi on Thursday, Prime Minister and NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba said that his party was holding talks with several parties for electoral adjustments.
"There would be alliance with likeminded parties depending on the necessity," PM Deuba told reporters.  NC aims to win more than 80 seats and become the largest party.
Competing offers from the governing and ruling parties have put the smaller parties in a fix. Leaders across parties leaders said that they are weighing the offers before forging alliances.  

"Our party has decided to go for electoral alliance with revolutionary forces. It could be any political force," Maoist Center spokesperson Pampha Bhusal told Republica.

"The purpose of forging alliance is to win the elections. There can be alliances with the UML, NC or Madhes-based parties if leaders on the ground consider that such alliances emboldens our chances of winning."  
Madhes-based parties are planning to give first priority to the regional parties. If the efforts fail to bear fruits, most of the parties except for the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) look flexible for alliances with the major parties.
"The plans to form a joint front of Madhes-based parties didn't work in phase II of the local polls. It was the reason why our party contested alone in the second phase of the polls. This time there can be alliances with any party whom our local leaders find beneficial," said Ram Janam Chaudhary, general secretary of the Nepal Loktantrik Forum (NLF).  NLF leaders, Chaudhary said, were in talks with NC, UML, Maoist Center and some other regional parties.

RJPN leaders said that the party would opt for alliances in a few seats with all parties except those who voted against the constitution amendment including the UML and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party.
"There could be alliances for some key seats just to ensure our victory.  A decision would be taken after selection of candidates," said RJPN leader Brishesh Chandra Lal. 

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