SINDHUPALCHOWK, May 23: Switching party during elections can be a risky decision for the cadres of any political party. But party-switching really worked for many candidates in the first phase of the local level election held on May 14, while for some it turned out to be a wrong idea.
Raj kumar Poudel, who had long been associated with the CPN-UML, surprised many by switching to the CPN (Maoist Centre) with just few days left for the local polls. He then filed his candidacy for the post of chairperson of Bhotekoshi Rural Municipality.
He was widely criticized by the locals who thought he had taken a wrong decision by choosing 'a less popular party'. People became sure of Poudel's defeat as NC fielded Sangbu Sherpa, former chairperson of Listi VDC, against him.
However, silencing his critics, Poudel won the elections, defeating a 'stronger' contender in an NC stronghold.
Though it was a close call, Poudel defeated his rival by an astonishing margin of just 123 votes. He garnered 2,573 votes while his closest contender just 2,410 votes.
The story of Nima Gyalgen Sherpa of Helambu is a similar one. During the Constituent Assembly election of 2013, he had filed his candidacy for the district's Constituency No. 3 from NC. But unfortunately he faced a shameful defeat as he became fourth in the race.
Later, he left the NC and formed his own party named Samajik Loktantrik Party and became its chairperson. Since then, he had no connection with the NC for four long years.
Right before the recently held first phase local polls, NC was looking for a candidate for the chief post of Helambu Rural Municipality. Interestingly, the party provided ticket to Sherpa to compete for the chief post.
A lot of people had doubted Sherpa's win. But to their surprise, Nima Gyalgen won the election, defeating Hasta Pandit of CP-UML by more than 1,700 votes and becoming the new chairperson of the rural municipality.
Until a few days before the elections, Durga Bahadur Lama of Bandegaun was a dedicated cadre of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP). Though he wished to be the chairperson of Indrabati Rural Municipality, he didn't dare to file his candidacy as his party didn't have a good hold in the area.
The CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) were said to have good presence in Helambu.
So, the other major party, the NC, was looking for a strong candidate while Lama was looking for an opportunity to join a 'powerful party'. As a result, he joined NC and was successful in getting a ticket. But even the decision taken in haste bore fruit as he won the elections for the chairperson of the rural municipality, defeating his closest contender from the CPN-UML by just eight votes.
However, the idea to change party didn't work for some candidates as they were punished by the voters for switching party.
Buddha Raj BK of Bahrabise switched to the CPN (Maoist Centre) from NC, just a day before filing the nominations. But unfortunately, that turned out to be a wrong idea as he was defeated. Likewise, Durga Nepal, ho had a long political background with the CPN-UML, decided to join the CPN (Maoist Center) right before the election. Though the new party offered her the ticket for the post of vice-chairperson, she could not make it to the post. There are many candidates like these two for whom party switching didn't work.
More than 2,000 candidates were competing against each other in the first round of the local elections in Sindhupalchowk and there were many who had changed parties. There were some who switched to powerful parties so as to gain more votes while some were compelled to do so due to their disappointment and dissatisfaction with their parties.