NEPALGUNJ, July 5: Major political parties have lost their traditional strongholds in various districts of Province 5 and 7 in the June 28 local level elections.
Nepali Congress (NC) lost the elections in the headquarters of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's home district Dadeldhura. The main opposition CPN-UML won in NC's traditional stronghold Amargadhi Municipality where NC remained unbeaten since 1991.
Interestingly, NC lost its stronghold in the district at the same time when Deuba is party president and prime minister of the country. Not only in Amargadhi, NC lost in many other local units in the Province-5 and 7 where many senior NC leaders hail from. The same is true about the UML, CPN (Maoist Center) and Rastriya Janamorcha in the two provinces in far west and western Tarai area.
The ruling NC also lost its stronghold district Dang in the second phase of local level elections held after 20 years in the country. The party used to remain victorious in the district in most of the elections except Constituent Assembly (CA) elections in 2008. But the party lost the elections in Ghorahi Sub-metropolitan City and Lamahi Municipality in the local polls. CPN-UML has been leading with a wide margin in Tulshipur Sub-metropolitan City of the district. Lamahi is the home city of influential NC leader Khum Bahadur Khadka. UML has won five and leading in one of total 10 local units in the district followed by NC in three and Maoist Center in one ward.
“Our party was defeated in the last three consecutive elections after the 1997 local polls. Our long dream has been materialized with the results of the latest elections,” said UML alternative central committee member Metmani Chaudhary.
NC also lost its traditional stronghold in Rupandehi of Province-5. UML waved the flag sweeping NC's traditional stronghold in Tilottama Municipality and Suddhodhan Rural Municipality. NC's leader Balkrishna Khand had won last two parliamentary elections from this area but he failed to secure his younger brother's victory as mayor of Tilottama in the local elections. “The result didn't come in his favor due to internal party feud,” a local leader told Republica requesting not to be named.
Simialr is the story of the CPN-UML, which is aiming to become the largest political party in the local elections. UML secured victory only in three of 10 local units in UML Vice Chairman Bhim Rawal's home district. The party had won all two constituencies of its stronghold district in the CA elections held in 2013. But NC emerged victorious in five and Maoist Center in two local units of the districts in the far-western hill district.
NC thrived in traditional communist stronghold district Pyuthan defeating the UML-Janamorcha alliance. NC's Bishnu Kumar Giri emerged victorious in Gaumukhi Rural Municipality of the district which was believed to be a traditional stronghold of Janamorcha. Likewise, NC's Shiva Rijal also defeated UML's candidate in the latter's stronghold Naubahini Rural Municipality. Taking benefit of the stiff competition between the UML and Maoist Center, NC's candidate emerged victorious also in Airawati Rural Municipality of the district.
Also, the Maoist Center lost in three local units of Rolpa district, which was the base of the 'Maoist revolution'. Though the Maoists had managed victory in both constituencies of the district in the last CA elections, UML secured victory in Triveni and Runtigadhi as well as NC won in Lungri rural municipalities in the local elections.
Political analyst Sushil Raj Sharma believes the failure of the political parties to understand the changed psychology of voters is the major factor behind their defeats in their stronghold areas. “This result has given lessons to the parties that voters take their decisions judging the candidates, instead of political parties in the local elections. Internal party dispute is also the reason in many places,” Sharma told Republica.
Meanwhile, the influential central leaders of the major political parties failed to secure victory of their relatives in their local areas in the local level elections.
Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN)leader Brijesh Kumar Gupta, who has been influencing politics of the area for over last three decades failed to secure the victory of his uncle Ram Das Gupta in Kapilvastu Municipality. The local RJPN leader had filed his candidacy as an independent candidate after his party boycotted the elections.
Similarly, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal leader Abhishek Pratap Sah's effort to secure the victory of his uncle Ajay Pratap Sah remained elusive after the rebel candidate of the party, Rajat Pratap Sah won the mayoral post of Krishnanagar Municipality. Rajat Pratap is also an uncle of FSFN assistant general secretary Abhishek.