Congress courts Madhesi, fringe forces to contain leftAs the parties reach the last leg of campaign for the second phase of federal parliamentary and provincial elections,
As the parties reach the last leg of campaign for the second phase of federal parliamentary and provincial elections, the ruling Nepali Congress and two Madhes-based parties—Rastriya Janata Party Nepal and the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal—are exploring last-minute possibilities of assisting each other’s candidates in some constituencies.
Though candidates of the Madhes-based parties and the NC intensify their campaigns, both sides are in discussion for informal alliances in the constituencies of some leaders. Leaders on both sides said it would take a couple of days for a concrete result to come out.
“There is a tentative agreement that the two sides should forge alliance in the constituencies where the prospects of the left alliance winning are high,” said an NC leader from Madhes requesting anonymity.
Several rounds of talks between the NC and the Madhes-based parties for broader electoral alliance have fallen through earlier. In Mahotari-3, the NC has already decided to support Mahantha Thakur, the RJP-N coordinator. There are 32 federal parliament seats in Province 2.
The broader alliance between the NC and the Madhes-based parties did not materialise as both sides claimed this province as their stronghold. Another Madhesi leader said they are assessing the strength of the left alliance. The assumption is that the CPN-UML has a strong hold in the highway areas, while the CPN (Maoist Centre) fared well even in inner Madhes during local level elections.
At the same time, the NC is reaching out to the Rastriya Prajatantra Party led by Kamal Thapa and the Pashupati Shumsher Rana-led RPP (Prajatantrik) as well to strengthen the “democratic” alliance. As the NC has actively supported Thapa’s RPP, it expects full cooperation from the party in other constituencies. There are reports of the RPP supporting the left alliance in some districts.
In the House of Representatives seats, the NC has supported four RPP candidates—in Makawanpur-2, Dailekh-1, Banke-3 and Kathmandu-7. For the Provincial Assembly elections, the NC has backed the RPP candidates in Baitadi, Myagdi and Dhading.
“We have already instructed our local committees to coordinate with the Nepali Congress and support its candidates,” said senior RPP leader Sushil Kumar Shrestha. He was of the view that it is necessary to strengthen the “democratic” alliance in order to counter the left alliance. Following instruction from the centre, local chapters of the RPP are deciding to support NC candidates. The RPP-P has also instructed its district chapters to support Congress candidates.
The NC is also in talks with the Naya Shakti Nepal Party, seeking the latter’s support
in other constituencies except in Gorkha and Rasuwa. Following the NC’s request, Naya Shakti candidates have already withdrawn their candidacy in Dadeldhura, Kailai-5, and Tanahu-2.
The NC has requested Naya Shakti to support its candidates saying that the
latter’s candidates had little prospect of winning the direct election. The Naya Shakti has fielded its candidates in 123 seats under the first-past-the-post House elections.