Heavyweight leaders contesting elections
In the first phase of elections to the House of Representatives, a few heavyweight candidates will be facing tough candidates of the rival alliance. Probably, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai of the Naya Shakti Party-Nepal and Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the common candidate of the left alliance in Gorkha-2, will be having the toughest rival in the election this time.
Dr. Bhattarai who was elected to the two Constituent Assemblies in 2008 and 2013 from Gorkha-2 is now contesting the election by forging alliance with the Nepali Congress. Before Dr Bhattarai's entry in the politics, both seats of Gorkha used to be won by NC candidates. If the pro-NC voters give their votes to Dr Bhattarai, he is sure to win the polls for the third time. However, Shrestha of the Maoist-Centre is also not a weak candidate. The strong backing from the UML can make him victorious. Interestingly, Gorkha is home to both the candidates and both of them served as vice chairmen of the Maoist-Centre together. Former Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai had served as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister in the Pusdhpa Kamal Dahal-led government formed after 2008 CA elections. Likewise, Shrestha also served as Deputy Prime Minister with the portfolio of the Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs. Bhattarai deserted the left alliance when he was denied Gorkha-2 constituency. Later, he forged alliance with NC and NC offered him the seat. The contest between Dr Bhattarai and Shrestha will be interesting for the onlookers. However, the new parliament is sure to be without one of them. Likewise, Pashupati Shusmher Rana of RPP has Sher Bahadur Tamang of UML as his rival in Sindupalchowk-2. Rana who won almost all elections from 2038 to 2056 from Sindupalchowk failed to win elections in 2008 and 2013 from the same constituency. Rana is also backed by NC while Tamang by the Maoist Centre. In another constituency of the same district, Minister for Information and Communications Mohan Bahadur Basnet is contesting the polls from the NC ticket while former minister Agni Sapkota of the Maoist Center is the candidate of the left alliance. The competition between Basnet and Sapkota will also be tough considering their popularity in the district. Sapkota was elected in both the CAs while Basnet was elected only in 2013. Similarly, two popular youth leaders—Ramhari Khatiwada of NC and Yagya Raj Sunwar of the UML are contesting for the Okhaldhunga seat. Similarly, Ram Sharan Mahat of NC and Hitman Tamang of Maoist Centre are contesting each other in Nuwakot. Interestingly, a few heavyweights of UML and Maoist Centre are vying for the seats in the provincial assemblies. Rajrendra Pande, Sherdhan Rai Prithvi Subba Gurung of UML, Mahendra Bahadur Shahi and Salikram Jamarkattel of the Maoist Centre are contesting the provincial polls this time.