Rajendra Lingden defeats Kamal Thapa in pro-Hindu party electionThapa loses control of Rastriya Prajatantra Party after leading it for decades, blames deposed king Gyanendra.
Kamal Thapa has lost to Rajendra Lingden in the election held on Saturday night for the post of party chair.
Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Nepal’s pro-Hindu and pro-monarchy party, is electing a new leadership for the next five years.
The defeat ended Thapa’s continued control over the party for decades.
Thapa conceded his defeat early on Sunday morning.
“Respecting the democratic norms and values, I concede my defeat,” Thapa wrote on Twitter. “Congratulations to newly elected party chair Rajendra Lingden.”
Lingden, 58, was backed by youth leaders in his challenge to Thapa, 65.
Thapa has accused former king Gyanedra of interfering in the party election, leading to his defeat.
“I condemn the naked intervention of Nirmal Niwas in the party’s internal competition,” he wrote on Twitter.
According to Hari Basnet, election convener, Lingden secured 1,817 votes against Thapa’s 1,618 to win the election. As many as 431 votes were invalidated.
Lingden was backed by youth leaders of the party.
“Actually we youths wanted a change in the leadership of Kamal Thapa as our party will have no future under his leadership,” Faniraj Lohani, a candidate for central member, told the Post on Saturday evening before the voting started. “We have decided to fight the election with a separate panel led by Rajendra Lingden because most of the pro-Hindu and pro-monarchy organisations said they would join hands with our party if Lingden takes the lead.”
Lingden is a Member of Parliament from Jhapa district. He defeated Nepali Congress leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula in the 2017 elections.
Lingden, according to his followers in the party, decided to challenge Thapa because the latter disgraced the party by joining governments under the leaders who championed republicanism.
The party’s former chair Prakash Chandra Lohani had extended his support to Lingden while another former chair Pashupati Shumsher Rana stood for Thapa.
The party’s ‘unity general convention’ began in the Capital on Wednesday and competition between Thapa and Lingden was apparent right from the inaugural session.
Rastriya Prajatantra Party was formed following a merger between Thapa-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (United) led by Rana and Lohani in March last year.
Though Thapa lost the election, most of the office bearers who have won are from his panel.
Bikram Pandey, who was in the race for the party vice-chair from both panels, has won with the highest number of votes.
Similarly, Buddhi Man Tamang, Dhurba Bahadur Pradhan and Roshan Karki, all from the Thapa panel, have also won as vice-chairs.
The party has elected four vice-chairs including a woman.
In three positions of general secretary, Dhawal Shumsher Rana from the Lingden panel has won, along with Bhuwan Pathak and Kunti Kumari Shahi, both from the Thapa panel.
The convention has elected 149 members for the Central Committee where 50 members will be nominated by the party chair.