Dhungel elected UML’s Bagmati provincial chairDhungel defeated his competitor Krishna Prasad Dahal by 257 votes. Polls all set in Karnali and Koshi to choose leaderships.
The first provincial convention of the main opposition CPN-UML has started electing leaders through voting despite the central leadership’s calls for unanimous leadership.
Kailash Dhungel has been elected the party chief of Bagmati Province. In an election held on Friday, Dhungel defeated his competitor Krishna Prasad Dahal by 257 votes. According to the party, Dhungel received 696 votes against Dahal’s 439.
Dhungel, who hails from Ramechhap, is the central committee member of the party. He is considered to be close with party chairman KP Sharma Oli and general secretary Shankar Pokarel.
Likewise, Dawa Dorje Lama of Chitwan district has been elected vice-chairman of the provincial committee securing 615 votes.
Similarly, Nawaraj Silwal of Lalitpur was elected the general secretary defeating Hasta Pandit of Sindhupalchok by a margin of one vote. Silwal, a former deputy inspector general (DIG) of Nepal Police, received 568 votes.
Prem Kumar Maharjan and Bhakta Kumari Lama have been elected deputy general secretaries, garnering 599 and 536 votes, respectively.
Some of the members of the 240-member Bagmati Province Committee were elected unopposed while others secured their positions through voting, the party said.
A total of 1,135 votes were cast in the election in which electronic voting machines were used. A total of 1,172 representatives attended the convention, the party said.
In Koshi Province, leaders Ghanashyam Khatiwada and Binod Dhakal are all set to contest for the provincial chief of the party. According to Shivamaya Tumbahamphe, a member of the UML’s Koshi Province Convention Presidium, Khatiwada and Dhakal filed their nominations on Saturday.
The election committee set the nomination deadline by 4pm on Saturday. The election for UML leadership in Koshi Province is scheduled from 11am to 4pm on Sunday. “It is an internal election of the party. The poll will be held in a healthy environment by forging an understanding,” said Khatiwada after filing his nomination.
The UML Koshi provincial committee will have 215 members including a chairman, a vice-chairman, a secretary and two deputy secretaries.
In Karnali Province, there is a triangular competition for the helm of party leadership during the ongoing convention. Prakash Rokaya of Kalikot, Gulabjung Shah of Salyan and Min Bahadur Shahi of Kalikot are vying for the post of UML provincial chief. Raj Bahadur Shahi and Prem Bahadur Singh withdrew their candidacies on Saturday.
Similarly, Rudra Bahadur Shahi of Dailekh and Dhruba Kumar Shahi of Surkhet have filed their nomination for the post of secretary. While addressing the inaugural function of the party province committee three days ago, UML Chairman Oli had instructed the party committee to elect leadership unanimously. “But the leadership will be selected through election as the aspirants failed to forge a consensus,” said Binod Shah, the chairman of UML Karnali committee. The elections were held late on Saturday.
The main opposition party held the Lumbini provincial convention in the first week of September in which Radhakrishna Kandel, who is considered loyal to party vice-chair Bishnu Paudel, was elected the chairman. The convention was considered to be a test of the strengths of Paudel and UML general secretary Pokharel. In the competition, Paudel prevailed over Pokharel. In the last general convention held in Chitwan two years ago, Paudel and Pokharel had staked claims to the post of party general secretary. At the eleventh hour, Oli had favoured Pokhrel.
(With inputs from our correspondents in Biratnagar and Birendranagar.)