LAHAN, Sept 24: The country's oldest political party, the Nepali Congress (NC) which had dominated the 2013 second Constitution Assembly elections in Siraha district, had perhaps never expected an embarrassing defeat in the same district in the local elections. However, the NC has lost its ground in the party's traditional strongholds of the district. The same holds true for other political parties which have faced defeats in places which were earlier considered to be their traditional strongholds.
NC lost many of its traditional strongholds, including in Aurahi Rural Municipality, Lahan Municipality, Dhangadhi, Sukhipur, Bariyarpatti Rural Municipality, Laxmipurpatari Rural Municipality, Sakhuwankarkatti Rural Municipality and other local units. In the same way, CPN-UML and Madhes-centric parties were also unable to safeguard their strongholds in the local elections held on September 18.
In contrast, the UML has won the elections in Lahan - the origin of the 2015 Madhes movement - despite being termed as 'anti-Madhesi' by its political rivals. UML candidate Munni Sah won the mayoral race in the municipality.
The ruling CPN (Maoist Center) managed to secure victories in six out of 17 local units in the district while the ruling NC has won in two local units. Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and UML have secured four local units each.
In the same way, UML failed to safeguard its victory in its stronghold Bhagwanpur Rural Municipality among others. Likewise, UML and CPN (Maoist Center) have secured victories in many local units that were considered the traditional strongholds of the Madhes-centric parties.
Intra-party rifts have been blamed for such unexpected results. “Defeats in the traditional strongholds have exposed the serious flaws at the leadership level,” said an NC cadre, “They did not consider the feelings of voters while distributing tickets for the elections.”
Another major factor behind such results is the dissatisfaction among the voters. Many realized that trusted parties, whom they have been voting in every election, did not live up to their expectations and promises. That is why they chose to vote a different party this time, according to Sunil Kumar Shah, an intellect of Lahan.
Chakrapani Dahal, a school principal in Lahan, said, “This shows that the voters do not blindly support any political party. More importantly, this is a clear message that the people want peace, prosperity and harmony instead of protests and destructions.”