Bharatpur re-election: Renu Dahal turns the tables on Devi GyawaliCPN (Maoist Centre)’s Renu Dahal has defeated CPN-UML’s Devi Gyawali by 203 votes to become the mayor of Bharatpur Metropolitan City.
CPN (Maoist Centre)’s Renu Dahal has defeated CPN-UML’s Devi Gyawali by 203 votes to become the mayor of Bharatpur Metropolitan City.
The metropolis got its mayor almost two and a half months after the elections.
“Maoist Centre’s Renu Dahal has defeated UML’s Devi Gyawali by 203 votes,” Gambhir Ghimire, assistant election officer, told the Post. Dahal secured 43,127 votes against Gyawali’s 42,924.
Elections in Bharatpur Metropolitan City were held on May 14, but the fracas on the night of May 28, in which Maoist Centre representatives had allegedly torn 90 ballot papers, had led to the halt of vote counting. Counting of votes of Ward 19 was underway at that time and the UML’s Gyawali was leading Dahal by around 700 votes.
There are 29 wards in Bharatpur Metropolitan City and counting of votes of 27 wards had been completed until May 28 with the ballots of Wards 19 and 20 remaining to be counted.
Following the incident, the Election Commission on June 3 had decided to conduct re-election in Ward 19.
The decision was upheld by the Supreme Court on July 31, and re-election in the concerned ward was held on Friday. Of the 3,797 eligible voters, 2,870 had cast their votes during Friday’s re-election in Ward 19. In Ward 20 of the metropolis, 3,303 votes were cast on May 14, which were not counted after the May 29 fracas.
Vote counting of Ward 19 started on Friday night itself amid tight security.
Votes of Wards 19 and 20 became decisive in the mayoral race.
Dahal, the daughter of Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, was fielded jointly by the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Maoist Centre as per their electoral alliance.
Some NC leaders at the district level, however, were not happy with the party’s decision to forge an electoral alliance with the Maoist Centre, hence during the May 14 voting, UML had secured quite a good number of votes. But when re-election was held, it is believed, NC supporters also voted for the Maoist Centre’s Dahal.
The UML had taken serious exception to ballot tearing on May 28, saying that the Maoist Centre had perpetrated the act deliberately after sensing a defeat. The UML had consistently called for resumption of vote counting and objected to the EC’s decision of re-election in Ward 19. Meanwhile, NC’s Parbati Shah defeated UML’s Dibya Sharma by 7,672 votes in the deputy mayoral race of the metropolis.
“Shah secured 47,197 votes against Sharma’s 39,525,” said Ghimire said.