NEPALGUNJ, Oct 9: Within a few days of quitting Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN), Pashupati Dayal Mishra decided to run for the upcoming elections from Banke (constituency number 2) with the election symbol 'sun' of CPN-UML.
The UML's decision to give ticket to Mishra has triggered ripples in the RPJN.
Such incidents have sent shockwaves to RJPN in most of the districts of Province-5, from Nawalparasi to Banke. Not just within the RJPN, but the incident is expected to create ripples in the provincial politics as a whole.
On October 2, member of the RJPN's presidium Hridayesh Tripathi, after quitting his party, signed an agreement with UML's General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel to vie in the election using the symbol of UML. Along with Tripathi and Mishra, BK Gupta, Jagdish Shukla and Ishwar Dayal Mishra of RJPN's presidium had signed the agreement with UML.
“We raised voice for proper utilization of opportunity during the polls. Our repeated pleas were ignored by the leadership,” said Pashupati Dayal. “So we decided to quit the party.”
The leaders said they were forced to quit RJPN as the party's leadership focused only on the elections of Province-2. “Had we utilized the second phase of local elections, we could have brought good results in Banke, Kapilvastu, Rupandehi and Nawalparasi,” said Pashupati Dayal.
Based on Constituent Assembly elections of 2013, RJPN has a good grip in tarai districts of Province-5. Out of four CA members of RJPN, three of them - Sarbendranath Shukla, Brijesh Gupta and Kamlesh Puri - are from Province-5. Despite a strong base, the RJPN leadership decided to boycott the local elections. At present, only Shukla is still in the party.
Activist Alam Khan, who has developed deep understanding of Madhes politics, said the quitting of senior leaders on the eve of important elections have hit the RJPN hard. In fact, this incident can affect the election results of Province-5 as a whole, he said.
“The quitting of leaders who contributed to the Madhes movement would definitely affect the sentiments of the Madhesi people. As an immediate consequence, it will weaken RJPN's stand and might affect the results of provincial elections,” said Khan.
For instance, Brijesh Kumar of Kapilvastu, who has been elected CA member three times from his area, is considered an influential leader in the district. At the time RJPN discarded elections in Kapilvastu, he made his uncle Ramdas Gupta to vie for the mayoral post as an independent candidate. Brijesh Kumar couldn't openly work in promoting election and Gupta lost the mayoral race by a slim margin.
“Now that Brijesh Kumar will actively involved in election campaigns, this will definitely have an impact in our district,” said an RJPN cadre.
Although the leaders said they are contesting the elections as independent political group, RJPN leaders accused them of being 'unethical' to vie in the elections carrying other party's symbol when claiming to be independent.