Congress, left alliance set for a close fight in BajuraElection campaigns are picking up pace in Bajura, a remote hill district in Province 7.The province has nine districts, but elections in the first phase on November 26 will take place in four districts—Bajura, Bajhang, Baitadi and Darchula. All these districts have one federal constituency each.
Published at : October 29, 2017
Updated at : October 29, 2017 09:23
Election campaigns are picking up pace in Bajura, a remote hill district in Province 7.
The province has nine districts, but elections in the first phase on November 26 will take place in four districts—Bajura, Bajhang, Baitadi and Darchula. All these districts have one federal constituency each.
A straightforward two-day fight between the Nepali Congress and the left alliance of the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) is expected in Bajura which has around 65,000 registered voters.
The left alliance has fielded UML central committee member Lal Bahadur Thapa while the NC has selected its district president Kabi Raj Pandit for the federal elections.
The left alliance has projected UML politburo member Karna Bahadur Thapa as the chief minister of Province 7. Karna, who had won the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013, is a left alliances’ provincial assembly candidate under the proportional representation system.
For provincial assemblies, NC candidates Janak Giri and Padam Bahadur Shahi will be pitted against the left alliance’s Baldev Regmi and Prakash Shah. Both Regmi and Shah are UML leaders.
If local level election results are taken into consideration, the left alliance is likely to have the upper hand in the district. Though the NC had won six out of nine local units, there was not much of difference in total votes obtained by the NC and the UML.
The NC had secured 23,203 votes and the UML 22,569 votes in the local level elections. The Maoist Centre, which now has formed an electoral alliance with the UML, had secured 3,956 votes. And this takes the left alliances’ total votes to 26,525, which is 3,322 votes more than the NC’s in local polls.
Even if Naya Shakti Nepal’s 89 votes and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party’s 120 votes are added to the NC’s votes, as these parties have formed a “democratic alliance”, the bloc’s vote strength reaches only 23,412—still 3,113 less than the communist forces’ votes.
But, observers say, local level poll results may give some sort of picture about the possible outcome, there’s no guarantee that the voting pattern remains the same in federal and provincial elections.
“The dynamics of federal elections is different from local elections so voting pattern won’t remain the same,” said Tula Ram Jaisi, an activist from the district. “Both alliances (left and democratic) are set for a tough fight.”
According to Jaisi, people will look for convincing developmental agenda before voting as the district is among the poorest in the country and is ranked second last in the Human Development Index after Humla.
As far as election agendas are concerned, both sides are promising “a developed and prosperous Bajura”.
Candidates are trying to woo voters with the promises like expediting road construction, developing the district headquarters Martadi and promoting medicinal herbs among others.
A black-topped roach is yet to connect the district with other parts of the country.
Karna, the chief ministerial candidate of the left alliance, said at a programme on Wednesday: “The long-drawn political transition will end with the conclusion of the upcoming elections. Our alliance will then take not only Bajura but the entire country on the path of prosperity.”
The programme was organised to welcome Man Bahadur Rawal, the former district president of NC, to the UML.
“With the entry of Rawal, the left alliance’s victory has now been ensured,” said Karna. Rawal joined the UML after severing his 30-year ties with the NC.
NC leaders, however, said that the UML did nothing for the district and its people despite winning the second CA elections.
“People have closely watched what they (the UML and Maoist Centre) did for the district. They want change now,” said NC leaders Basant Rokaya, also the president of the District Coordination Committee.
Candidates in bajura
NC : Kabi Raj Pandit
Left alliance : Lal Bahadur Thapa (UML)
NC : Janak Giri and Padam Bahadur Shahi
Left alliance : Baldev Regmi and Prakash Shah (UML)