Ruling alliance faces a tall order for vote transfer in RolpaFor the federal polls, Barsha Man Pun, the deputy general secretary of the Maoist Centre, is up against Purna Bahadur Budha, his former comrade-in-arms.
Barsha Man Pun, the deputy general secretary of CPN (Maoist Centre), is contesting for the federal parliament seat from Rolpa, an epicentre of Maoist insurgency. He is the common candidate of the ruling alliance in the district, which has a single electoral constituency in the House of Representatives. Pun is up against Purna Bahadur Budha Magar, his one-time party comrade and former Maoist combatant who is contesting the November 20 polls under the CPN-UML ticket.
Pun, who has already served as Finance Minister, is the election commander of the ruling alliance in Rolpa, a hill district of Lumbini Province. Maoist leader and provincial assembly candidate of Rolpa (1) Jokha Bahadur Mahara and Nepali Congress leader and provincial assembly candidate of Rolpa (2) Amar Singh Pun are accompanying Pun in the campaign trail.
The Maoist deputy general secretary has a responsibility to implement the ruling alliance’s decision and address the dissatisfaction within the Maoist and other alliance parties. He also has to placate the locals who often complain he did very little for the development of Rolpa despite holding ministerial berths several times.
Pun, who is 51, says he is not in the best of his health right now. “I am suffering from jaundice but I have no time to rest due to hectic election schedule,” he told the Post. “The party activists ask me to join election rallies in the villages and I have to go.”
But apparently, the biggest challenge for him is to ensure vote transfer to the common candidate of the ruling alliance. The ruling alliance has asked the supporters of the Nepali Congress, the Maoist, CPN (Unified Socialist) and Rastriya Janamorcha to cast their ballots for the Maoist candidate in the House of Representative and provincial assembly in Rolpa (1) while they have to support Congress candidate in Rolpa (2).
Moreover, Maoist district in-charge Dipendra Pun stands against the ruling alliance. Challenging the alliance’s decision, he filed his ‘rebel candidacy’ against Congress candidate Amar Singh Pun. The Maoist cadres are divided on whether to support Congress candidate Amar Singh or Dipendra.
“We did not know that the Maoist district leadership was against forging an electoral alliance with the Congress. But the Maoist decided to have an election alliance with the Congress in the centre,” said Barsha Man, admitting that the ruling party alliance had a tough time ensuring the vote transfer. “The party leadership directed Dipendra to withdraw his candidacy but he refused.”
According to party insiders, some prominent Maoist leaders including former minister Jayapuri Gharti Magar, Chief Minister of Lumbini Province Kul Prasad KC, Jhakku Prasad Subedi and Raj Bahadur Budha Magar are dissatisfied with Barsha Man.
The UML candidates, on the other hand, are determined to take political advantage of the rifts within the Nepali Congress and the Maoist. According to UML district chairman Balaram Budha, the party has deployed four central members—Nabin Roka, Kumar Dasaudi, Ishwari Gharti and Yamuna Roka—to lead the election campaign in Rolpa.
Purna Bahadur, the UML’s candidate for the federal polls, said that his team’s door-to-door campaign is in full swing. He was the battalion commander of the Maoist army during the decade-long armed conflict but after the Nepal Communist Party, formed after the merger of UML and the Maoists, was invalidated by the Supreme Court, he decided to stay with the KP Sharma Oli-led party.
“We are currently launching a door-to-door campaign,” he said. “We meet the people on the ground and ask for votes rather than launching big poll programmes.”