Heavy­weight lead­ers con­test­ing elec­tions

People's Review - - FRONT PAGE - By Our Re­porter

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.

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