Hundreds of candidates withdraw from raceAs many as 2,412 candidates are now in the race for seats in the lower house and 3,224 in provincial assemblies.
Chakra Snehi, a CPN-UML leader from Dadeldhura, withdrew his candidacy for the upcoming elections on Wednesday. His party has instead decided to support Karna Malla, the chairperson of Nepali Congress (BP) who is challenging Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba.
The UML and Malla’s party had partnered in the recent local elections. However, the Congress had managed to retain its hold in the district, Deuba’s native. The incumbent prime minister is a common candidate of the five-party alliance for the upcoming House of Representatives elections.
The Election Commission, which registered candidacies for the lower house and provincial assembly elections on Sunday, had slated Wednesday for the aspirants to withdraw their bids if they wished.
The UML had initially fielded its candidates in 139 House constituencies; later, it withdrew candidacies from three constituencies, including in Dadeldhura. As per the party decision, Sindhu Jalesha Budhathoki, the UML candidate from Nawalparasi (West)-1, rolled back her candidacy to support Hridayesh Tripathi, chairperson of the Janata Pragatishil Party.
Budhathoki’s withdrawal has made Tripathi’s battle against Nepali Congress candidate Binod Chaudhary easier. In the 2017 federal election, Tripathi had won as an “independent” candidate from the constituency with the UML’s electoral symbol.
The UML also ordered its candidate from Chitwan-3, Ram Prasad Neupane, to withdraw his candidacy, as the party decided to support Dinesh Koirala, a rebel candidate from the Congress.
The UML is not alone in ordering its candidates to call off their bids. Imdad Hussain Khan of the CPN (Maoist Centre) on Sunday had registered his candidacy in Rupandehi-3 that would pit him against Congress leader Bal Krishna Khand. On Wednesday, however, he withdrew his bid and announced he’ll support Khand, the common candidate of the alliance. The UML is supporting Deepak Bohora of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party in the constituency.
Though the Congress, the Maoist Centre, the CPN (Unified Socialist), the Rastriya Janamorcha and the Loktantrik Samajbadi Party decided to contest the House of Representatives and provincial assembly elections under an alliance, dozens of party leaders had filed their candidacies, violating the agreement. The parties in the alliance on Tuesday asked the rebel candidates to walk out from the race or face the music.
After the party’s mandate, Yogendra Basnet from Okhaldhunga duly withdrew his candidacy to support Congress candidate Ram Hari Khatiwada. Madhabi Bhatta, a dissident candidate from the Nepali Congress, too, withdrew her candidacy from Gorkha-2, where Maoist Centre chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal is a common candidate of the ruling alliance.
Following the party line, Raju Mandal Rajbanshi, a Loktantrik Samajbadi Party candidate from Morang-6, too, has withdrawn his candidacy. He will be supporting Shekhar Koirala of the Congress.
The ruling alliance has also decided to support UML rebel candidate Prabhu Sah in Rautahat-3. Sah refused to contest from the UML expressing his dissatisfaction over the party’s decision to partner with the Janata Samajbadi in the upcoming elections. Rabindra Patel of the Maoist Centre withdrew his candidacy to support Sah.
As many as 119 candidates for the House of Representatives and 257 for the provincial assemblies have withdrawn their candidacies, according to Shaligram Sharma Poudel, spokesperson for the Election Commission. That has left a total of 2,412 candidates contesting for the lower house and 3,224 for provincial assemblies.