Devi Gyawali has continued to grab media headlines ever since the main opposition UML fielded him as its mayoral candidate for Bharatpur metropolitan city. There was especially bigger public interest on Gyawali than other mayoral candidates because he was contesting against Renu Dahal, daughter of the CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal who was leading the government until the first phase of local elections. Dahal was initially seen as clear front-runner as the Nepali Congress, the largest party with strong support base in Bharatpur, had decided to back her as its official candidate.
But Gyawali surprised many by maintaining clear lead until final vote counting when it was abruptly stopped at the final stage after some Maoist cadres tore some ballot papers. Police had caught two Maoist cadres from the vote counting site.
Gyawali and his party claimed that the ballot papers were torn deliberately after it become certain that Dahal, who was trailing behind with a margin of a few hundred votes, would lose at the polls.
The election commission has announced to hold reelections in ward number 19 of Bharatpur to resolve dispute over the torn ballot papers. It is too early to tell whether Gywali, who remains extremely popular in Bharatpur, will win the reelections. Even if he loses, Gyawali will long be remembered as someone who won despite losing.