Not disappointed with poll results: Bibeksheel, SajhaThe Bibeksheel Nepali Party (BNP) and Sajha Party (SP)—two new forces in the country’s political spectrum—may not have won seats in the first phase of local elections, they did create some buzz.
The Bibeksheel Nepali Party (BNP) and Sajha Party (SP)—two new forces in the country’s political spectrum—may not have won seats in the first phase of local elections, they did create some buzz. Bibeksheel and Sajha’s candidates in Kathmandu and Lalitpur had garnered substantial numbers of votes. But in the second phase of polls, they seemed to have lost the momentum.
Sajha Party had fielded Dr Tara Kafle and Prakash Chandra Pariyar for mayoral and deputy mayoral posts in Itahari Sub-Metropolitan City of Sunsari. Similarly, the BNP had six candidates in Damak Municipality of Jhapa, Kerabari Rural Municipality of Morang, Shuklaphanta Municipality of Kanchanpur and Itahari Sub-Metropolitan City.
When 15,000 votes were counted, Sajha Party’s Kafle and Pariyar had secured 152 and 170 votes respectively.
When asked, leaders of both the parties said they were neither surprised nor disappointed with the results.
“Though we had garnered respectable numbers of votes in the first phase of elections, we did not have high hopes in the second phase,” said Surya Raj Acharya, spokesperson for the Sajha Party.
Acharya, however, admitted that the number of votes in Itahari the party’s candidates have secured “is completely opposite to our estimation”.
“Close contest between two major parties—the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML—and our weak organisation at the local level cost us lots of votes,” said Acharya.
One of the major reasons why the two forces failed to secure votes in mofussil towns could be lack of organisational base. But this could be viewed the other way round also.
Both BNP and Sajha Party had launched massive social media campaigns when they were contesting in the first phase of elections in the urban centres. Social media campaigns could have worked for them during the elections to get votes.
“We had a solid social media campaign during the first phase of elections. But this only is not enough when we go outside Kathmandu. It is difficult to generate votes outside Kathmandu even in urban areas like Itahari,” said Acharya.
The lesson from the second phase of polls, both the parties agree, is a strong organisational base is a must to generate votes.
“We knew our bid in the second phase polls will not bear fruit, as we are yet to take our organisation to the grassroots. So, the results are not surprising to us,” said Ramesh Paudyal, spokesperson for the Bibeksheel Nepali Party. “The local elections, nonetheless, gave us a fair chance to learn how things work.”