Battle of province 1: Koirala, Pandit frontrunners in Morang-6The election mood in Morang-6 is running at a fever pitch, with two political heavyweights— Shekhar Koirala of Nepali Congress and Lalbabu Pandit of CPN-UML, contesting from the constituency.
The election mood in Morang-6 is running at a fever pitch, with two political heavyweights— Shekhar Koirala of Nepali Congress and Lalbabu Pandit of CPN-UML, contesting from the constituency.
Both Koirala and Pandit are strong candidates in the eyes of the voters.
While the former belongs to the Koirala dynasty that has produced four prime ministers and several political leaders, the latter comes from a more humble background who proved his leadership mettle when he headed the Ministry of General Administration in the Cabinet led by late Sushil Koirala.
It is going to be a tight race between Koirala and Pandit. Both stand a chance at leading the constituency.
The other factor adding intrigue in the contest between these two leaders is the traditional voters’ base that the NC and the UML command in Morang.
Pandit may have an edge over Koirala due to electoral alliance between the UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) and possible support from the Madhesi community, but Morang has always been the Koirala family stronghold.
Moreover, with Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar entering the NC, Koirala could secure votes from the Tharu community. Koirala is confident he will win the election.
“This place (Morang district) has been our region for years. I am committed to work for its development. I believe, it is our (Koirala family’s) responsibility to understand the aspiration of people and work towards achieving prosperity,” Koirala said.
Pandit, meanwhile, feels that the role he played in uniting the people from the Madhes with those from the Hill region, his track record as a politician and his stand over nationalism and sovereignty has strengthened his position in the region.
“I stand for national unity, sovereignty and harmony among people from different community,” Pandit said.
In the recently held local elections, the UML-Maoist Centre alliance had received 26,380 votes while NC and Gachhadar led Nepal Democratic Forum had garnered 27,997 votes. If that is taken as an indicator, Koirala and Pandit will have to contest a tough battle.
Most voters in Morang-6 say they will elect a candidate who is capable and his ideology will be a secondary factor deciding their ballot. “Both leaders have the potential. It will be a tough call for us,” said Sanjay Kumar Mishra, a voter.