DHANGADHI, July 11: Outdoing the Nepali Congress (NC), the CPN-UML has managed to become the largest party in Province 7, the home province of Prime Minister and NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba, in the local level elections.
The UML won the polls in 39 local units while the NC won 38 local units out of the total 88 units in this province.
Several local NC heavyweights lost in the second phase of local elections held in Province 7.
NC could win only two out of the nine local units in Kanchanpur, the home district of NC central committee leaders Ramesh Lekhak and NP Saud. "It is clear that there was a spat between both Lekhak and Saud which led to NC losing in Kanchanpur," said a local teacher, Kamal Joshi.
UML won the elections for the posts of both mayor and deputy mayor in Dadeldhura Municipality, Deuba's home town. "Besides the party being divided internally because of factions, the decision to provide Rs 107.5 million in compensation to the accused of the Tikapur killings played a major role for NC's defeat," said Joshi. Another central committee member, Bir Bahadur Balayar also conceded defeat in his home district of Doti to CPN UML.
Prime Minister Deuba had spent a week in Kailali, Kanchanpur and Dadeldhura to strengthen his party's chances of winning in these districts. However, he could not control the intra-party disputes which led to NC losing their hotbeds in the polls.
However, NC did manage to win in Accham, UML's vice chairperson Bhim Rawal's home district, and Bajura, the home district of UML leader Karna Thapa. "This election shows that the people are unsatisfied with the top leaders," said a prominent civil society leader Pramod Pathak.
Among the 13 local units in Kailali, UML was victorious in seven local units, while NC won three and CPN (Maoist Centre) along with Nepal Loktantrik Forum secured a single local unit. In Kanchanpur, CPN-UML was again the victor with five local units as NC and the Maoists won two units each. UML won in Doti securing five units with NC bagging three and Maoist Center securing one unit.
NC won in five local units in Accham while UML got three and the Maoists secured two units. In Bajhang, UML won in eight units while NC in four units. In Bajura, NC won in six local units while UML sealed victory in three. In Dadeldhura, NC won in four local units while UML managed victory in two units and the Maoists in just one unit. NC also was victorious in Baitadi securing six units and UML won in three and the Maoists in one local unit. Meanwhile in Darchula, NC also managed to win in five units while UML won in three and the Maoists in one local unit.