KATHMANDU, Dec 5: Concerned over the loss in by-election in some bastions of the party, the ruling Nepal Communist Party has asked its lower committees to send review reports by analyzing poll results and party's existing status to the party headquarters.
The instruction was issued to the local committees after ruling party candidates were defeated by main opposition Nepali Congress in some of its political strongholds.
NCP leaders are concerned after NC snatched away at least two key positions --provincial assembly seat in Bhaktapur 1 (a) and mayor of Dharan Metropolitan City—in the by-election held on November 30.
NCP candidate DP Dhakal was defeated by Krishna Lal Bhadel of NC in Bhaktapur-1 (a). Bhadel garnered 13,448 votes while Dhakal got 11,197 votes. In the 2017 provincial assembly election, NCP leader Hari Sharan Lamichhane was elected from the same constituency.
In Dharan, Tilak Rai of Nepali Congress defeated ruling party candidate Prakash Rai. The NC candidate had registered victory with a margin of 2,795 in Dharan Municipality, which is known as a stronghold of communists since decades.
Of the total 54,848 votes, the winning candidate Rai had garnered a total of 26,709 votes while NCP's Rai received 23,914 votes.
Meanwhile, the leaders of NCP are also concerned about losing a seat in ward 16 of Ghorahi Sub Metropolitan City due to the internal rivalry between the two constituents of the party formed through merger of the then CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre).
NC candidate Tara Bahadur Dangi defeated NCP candidate Suresh Bahadur KC with a margin of 105 votes. Another NCP leader Jagulal Tharu, who contested as an independent candidate after not getting ticket from the party, had secured 720 votes. Tharu's candidacy is taken as deepening polarization among party leaders into two camps led by former UML and former Maoist groups.
The then UML leader had won the election from this ward in the local election of 2017. Back then, the Maoists had its own candidate who was defeated by UML candidate Lacchiman Budha. But this time around, the ruling party was defeated by the main opposition despite the two communist parties merging into one.
Although NCP secured victory in by-election held for a seat in the federal parliament and also won provincial assembly seats in Baglung and Dang, the ruling party is upset with the poll defeat in certain places like Bhaktapur and Dharan.
Party leaders in the center were briefed that deputy mayor in Dharan, who represents the ruling party, was the main reason behind the party's defeat in its own stronghold. Leaders believed voters switched to Nepali Congress following the deputy mayor's decision to impose additional tax in the local unit ahead of the by-election.
A secretariat meeting of the ruling party held on Wednesday instructed the local leaders to prepare review reports in districts where the by-polls were held.
“The lower committees have been asked to submit their reports. We will then review them,” said the party's Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha emerging from the meeting.
Wednesday's meeting was the first chaired by Pushpa Kamal Dahal after he was named executive chairman in an attempt to define work responsibilities between Dahal and another party Chief, KP Sharma Oli.