Khim Lal Devkota defeats Ram Bahadur Thapa in National Assembly electionDevkota, an independent candidate backed by Nepal-Khanal faction of the UML, had the support of Congress and Maoist Centre. Thapa was fielded by the UML.
Khim Lal Devkota defeated Ram Bahadur Thapa in the National Assembly by-election held on Thursday.
Devkota had filed his candidacy as an independent candidate backed by the Madhav Nepal-Jhala Nath Khanal faction of the CPN-UML. The Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) too had thrown their weight behind him.
Thapa was CPN-UML’s candidate.
Devkota earned 5,088 weightage of votes against Thapa’s 4,014 to make it to the National Assembly.
“Khim Lal Devkota, who had filed his nomination as an independent candidate, has won the election,” Komal Dhamala, deputy spokesperson for the Election Commission, told the Post.
Devkota, an expert on federal affairs, is former vice chair of the Bagmati Planning Commission.
Thapa, a former Maoist leader, is currently a Standing Committee member of the UML. His defeat coincides with a Supreme Court decision earlier on Thursday, in which it scrapped his, along with six others’, appointment as ministers.
As many as 347 voters–109 members of the Bagmati Provincial Assembly and 238 chiefs and deputy chiefs of local levels–were eligible to vote. They carried a total vote weightage of 9,516.
Nine voters–four Provincial Assembly members and five chairs and deputy chairs of the local governments—didn’t vote, reducing the total weightage to 9,216.
The weightage of each vote of Provincial Assembly members is 48 while the weightage of each vote of the chiefs and deputy chiefs is 18.
The UML has 56 members in the assembly and 133 chiefs and deputy chiefs in the local levels. If all of them had voted for Thapa, his weightage would have been 5,062, ensuring him a victory.
Within the UML, the Nepal-Khanal faction commanded 62 votes (22 in assembly and 30 in local levels). Their weightage was 1,776.
The Congress and the Maoist Centre together had a weightage of 3,978.
The by-election on Thursday was held to fill the one position in the National Assembly that had gone vacant after the Maoist Centre sacked Thapa for defecting to Oli’s UML.
He was relieved of the National Assembly membership on April 18.
But the UML decided to field him again for the post.
Thapa, who was appointed home minister in the Oli Cabinet in 2018, was appointed again after the Maoist Centre sacked him as its member of the National Assembly. He was reappointed on May 14 once again, four days after Oli took oath of office as the prime minister following his defeat in the trust vote in Parliament.
Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party had also fielded its candidate for the position.
The Bibeksheel Sajha Party, which has three provincial assembly members, decided to abstain from the voting, while the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, which has two seats in the Provincial Assembly, had backed Thapa.