BAITADI, Nov 10: As the excitement for the upcoming parliamentary and provincial polls reaches fever pitch, an interesting electoral contest is expected between the CPN-UML and Nepali Congress (NC)-led alliances in Baitadi district.
Locals have speculated a tough competition between the 'democratic' alliance comprising Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and the ruling NC and the left alliance comprising the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center). The NC-led alliance has fielded state minister for commerce and NC leader Nar Bahadur Chand while the left alliance has fielded CPN-UML's Damodar Bhandari for the parliamentary elections. Bhandari is also a former state minister for finance.
In the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections of 2013, both of them were elected under the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system but from different constituencies. At that time, there were two electoral constituencies in the district that have now been merged into one. This time, choosing the winner has been challenging for the locals, all thanks to the newly forged alliances between the major parties.
During their poll campaigns, both candidates have been claiming their victory. "People who want democracy will vote for me as no other alliance can assure democracy as much we can," said NC candidate Chand.
Meanwhile, left alliance candidate Bhandari has been reminding people of the role that he and his friends played for the promulgation of the constitution “I hope the people will support us for the amendment of the constitution too," he said. According to him, he decided to file his candidacy so as to solve the problems of the people and lead them towards the path of development.
Though there is only one constituency for the parliamentary polls, there are two constituencies for the provincial polls in the district. Altogether 12 candidates are competing against each other in the provincial polls. As many as five parties will be competing in the parliamentary polls and an equal number of parties will be contesting the provincial polls in constituency no.1. However, only two parties will be competing in constituency no.2 in the provincial elections.
As the date for the elections draws nearer, candidates have intensified their campaigns in the district. There are four municipalities, six rural municipalities and 84 wards in the district. "It won't be possible for us to reach each ward during our promotional campaigns as it takes a lot of time. So, we are visiting the municipalities and rural municipalities," NC candidate Chand said.
In order to compete in the provincial elections, the 'democratic' alliance has picked NC's Hari Mohan Bhandari while the left alliance has fielded Maoist Center's Prem Prakash Bhatta in constituency 1(a). Similarly, RPP's Ganesh Bahadur Chand and CPN-UML's Leeladhar Bhatta will be competing in Constituency 2 (b). According to political analysts, no other party will be able to give a tough challenge to these alliances.
Although 13 candidates had filed their candidacies for the parliamentary and provincial polls in the beginning, one candidate withdrew his name later. Dhan Bahadur Bohora of Jana Samajbadi Forum Nepal who had filed his candidacy for the parliamentary polls withdrew his nomination.
In the parliamentary elections, NC's Nar Bahadur Chand, CPN-UML's Damodar Bhandari, RPP's Trilok Bahadur Chand, Bibeksheel Sajha's Narayandatta Awasthi, Rastirya Janamorcha's Birendra Singh Bhandari are up for the battle. Furthermore, NC's Hari Mohan Bhandari, CPN (Maoist center)'s Prem Prakash Bhatta, Rastriya Janamorcha's Arjun Singh Madai, Rastriya Mukti Andolan's Dilip Raj Pandey and Bhagirath Singh Kunwar of Janasamajbadi party will be contesting the provincial elections.