Province 4 heads for battle royale

November 15, 2017 05:50 AM SANTOSH POKHREL and NARAHARI SAPKOTA


POKHARA / GORKHA, Nov 15: Many senior politicians are contesting the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections from Province 4. They include a former prime minister, several-time ministers, youth leaders and even an alleged gangster. This has made the elections in Province 4 very interesting. 

Many have already started guessing the winners and losers in the upcoming elections. The competition is mainly between the left alliance forged between CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) and the Nepali Congress. 

Former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, who had left CPN (Maoist Center) to form his own political party Naya Shakti, is contesting against Maoist Center senior leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha in Gorkha constituency-2. This contest is considered the most interesting. 

No less interesting is the election in Tanahun, where Nepali Congress (NC) senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel is contesting. He has been dubbed as a candidate for prime minister on multiple occasions. People across the country are keenly watching what his next move would be.

The candidacy of UML youth leader Rabindra Adhikari has made the elections interesting in Kaski district. On the other hand, Syangja district has come under the limelight due to the candidacy of another political heavyweight - NC leader Gopal Man Shrestha.

In Manang, an alleged gangster is contesting the polls. Rajib Gurung aka Deepak Manange is contesting the parliamentary polls from Manang as an independent candidate backed by the UML. 

Although the senior leaders have 'high-profile' images in their respective political parties, political observers say it is not going to be easy for them to win the elections.

Kapil Mani Dahal, lecturer of politics at Prithivi Narayan Campus, said none of the senior leaders in the province has it easy to win the elections this time. “No matter how much influence a particular leader has within the party, it is a whole different level of challenge to woo voters and gain their votes,” he said. 

Adding that the left alliance comprising UML and Maoist Center can make a difference, Dahal further said, “We cannot be sure as the competition has increased drastically.”

He believes that NC senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel can go on to become the prime minister within the next five years if he wins the elections this time. Dahal said help from NC leader Govinda Raj Joshi, who is also a former home minister, would be crucial in determining Paudel's victory. 

“If Joshi does not help Paudel, that could affect the latter's votes. And that may make a difference,” he added. 

Intellectual and political analyst Sthaneshwar Duwadi of Gorkha said that the voters already know how efficient former PM Baburam Bhattarai and Maoist Center candidate Narayan Kaji Shrestha contesting the polls from Gorkha constituency-2 are as both of them have held high posts. 

“People need an alternative leader to choose from. However, as they have no other option, they are forced to vote for either Baburam Bhattarai or Narayan Kaji Shrestha,” he said.

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