Key architects of left alliance Bamdev, Shrestha suffer lossWhile the left alliance of CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) is flying high with resounding victory in House of Representatives (HoR) and Provincial Assembly elections countrywide,
While the left alliance of CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) is flying high with resounding victory in House of Representatives (HoR) and Provincial Assembly elections countrywide, two of the main negotiators behind that alliance—CPN-UML Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam and senior Maoist Centre leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha—have suffered defeat.
Gautam lost the elections in Bardiya-1 by a slender margion of 758 votes at the hands of NC candidate Sanjay Kumar Gautam, who secured 44,834 votes to claim one of the rare wins for the Congress in the polls. Shrestha, who contested the polls from Gorkha-2 against Naya Shakti Nepal’s coordinator and his former colleague Baburam Bhattarai, lost with a wide margin of 6,874 votes.
Bhattarai was backed by the NC, while Shrestha was one of the main architects of the left alliance led by the UML. Shrestha was one of the key players behind the formation of the KP Oli government in 2015, garnering Maoist support for the UML. It was Shrestha’s second loss in the parliamentary elections after earlier defeat in the 2013 CA elections when he contested from Makawanpur.
Despite his own setback in the election, former home minister Gautam put on a brave face saying that he was happy with the success of the left alliance, which he had actively anchored with other leaders. After the defeat, Gautam thanked his voters through a press statement and said, “I lost the election, but as a chief negotiator behind the left alliance, I am delighted with its success of my party and the alliance as a whole.”
Meanwhile, carrying on the winning momentum UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli has registered a thumping victory from Jhapa-5 with a huge margin of 28,842 votes. Oli garnered 57,139 votes against his closest rival Khagendra Adhikari of the NC who managed 28,297 votes on the way to his fifth poll victory.
Oli has won in all the elections since the restoration of democracy in 1990, except in the 2008 CA elections. However, he reclaimed his seat with a victory in the second CA elections in 2013.
The left-alliance, which contested the elections throughout the country, had also included the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) in its electoral alliance in Jhapa district. RPP’s inclusion as a coalition partner in the district has produced positive results, with the alliance sweeping all the five House of Representative constituencies. RPP candidate Rajendra Lingden defeated NC senior leader Krishna Prasad Situala in Jhapa-3 by over 13,000 votes.
The left-alliance continued their winning streak, with former prime minister Jhalnath Khanal and former speaker Subash Chandra Nembang also securing wins from their respective constituencies in Ilam. While UML senior leader Khanal was elected for the fifth time, another influential party leader Nembang registered his fourth victory from Ilam.
In Ilam-1, Khanal defeated NC rival Bhupendra Kattel by over 17,000 votes. On the other hand, Nembang beat NC’s Keshav Thapa by 9,654 votes in Ilam-2.