Alliance politics: Foes turn friends in West RukumCPN-UML leader Sher Bahadur KC and CPN (Maoist Centre) leader Janardan Sharma were pitted against each other during the first Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 in then Rukum Constituency-2.
CPN-UML leader Sher Bahadur KC and CPN (Maoist Centre) leader Janardan Sharma were pitted against each other during the first Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 in then Rukum Constituency-2.
KC was defeated by Sharma.
Nine years later, the arch rivals are together. KC these days is canvassing votes for Sharma, as the UML and the Maoist Centre have formed an electoral alliance and Sharma is the common candidate.
What is being seen at the centre—the comradeship between UML Chair KP Oli and Maoist Centre Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal—is very much on display in Rukum as well.
Once KC worked hard to defeat Sharma and these days he is working harder to ensure victory for his newfound friend.
Nine years ago, the two leaders while were found trading barbs, their supporters had even clashed.
“Some people are amazed at seeing us together. I myself feel strange at times,” said KC in a village while campaigning for Sharma. “But anything is possible in politics, you know,” he tried to shake off his awkwardness. “I have been tasked [by the party] with helping [Sharma] win the election.”
Following the formation of the left electoral alliance, the UML has appointed KC as the district chief of the “party unification committee”. The two communist forces have said the electoral alliance is a precursor to their unification.
KC is a well-known face in the district, however, with no luck yet.
He lost the 1991 parliamentary elections from then Rukum-2.
During the local elections held recently, he was in the fray for the post of Chaurjahari Municipality mayor. He was defeated by a Maoist candidate.
“We have to go where politics takes us. There is no point recalling the past. We should look forward,” said KC.
Like KC, another UML leader Thagendra Prakash Puri was defeated by Sharma in the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013. One of Sharma’s supporters lost his life in a clash between the two parties. Some UML leaders are still underground while others served jail terms for their involvement in the incident.
Puri too is supporting Sharma. He is the district coordinator of election publicity campaign for the left alliance.
“I was defeated by Sharma in the past by now we are working to ensure his victory in the changed context,” said Puri.
Sharma, also a minister without portfolio, is contesting for the federal parliament in West Rukum.
“There are immense possibilities in politics. There was a time when we were fierce rivals. Now we are together,” said Sharma. “This also sends a message that leaders who fight also know how to work together.”