RISHI DHAMALA, Sept 8: Election campaign for the third round of local level election scheduled for September 18 in Province 2 has geared up. Top leaders from various political parties have already reached Terai-Madhes to canvass votes.
But the Madhes election is going to be an acid test for the major political parties of the country. Almost all the political parties contesting for the local polls have also changed their polling strategy in a bid to secure their victory.
In the first round and second round of local elections, the major parties forged alliance in various local levels– which duly proved very fruitful to some parties while other parties failed to benefit from it. Owing to such unpredictable results, the political parties, in the upcoming local elections, have dumped their strategy of tying knot among each other. And, in the end, they are contesting in the polls without forging any electoral alliance.
Nepali Congress could not forge any alliance due to the internal disputes plaguing within the party, according to CPN (Maoist Center) sources.
Even Maoist Center (MC) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ during a press meet organized at Bharaptur admitted that his party could not forge poll alliance with NC. “We wanted to forge alliance with our ruling partner but their leaders didn’t agree,” he told Rishi Dhamala, who is currently in Madhes tour for his ‘Peaceful Election Campaign’.
All the political parties have claimed victory for their own in the many of the 136 local levels. It has been the matter of dignity for the leaders to win in their respective local units, and thus have been too busy planning strategy for the election.
MC, in order to successfully carry their election campaign, had run their Headquarter meeting in Madhes. It can be said that the relevance for forging alliance among parties have finished.
Meanwhile, it has been understood that majority of people in Madhes are willing to cast vote for the parties who supported the constitution amendment proposal. They have expressed public commitments to vote for the ‘better one’ rather than ‘the party they are associated with’. On the other hand, the main opposition party CPN-UML, who failed the constitution amendment proposal at the parliament, has also claimed that, like first and second round of election, they would emerge as the largest party in Province 2 election.
Nevertheless, UML are still vulnerable as defeat in Province 2 can cut their lead against NC.
Likewise, Rastirya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) is also doing all it can to win as much seats as it can in these eight districts. RJPN has publicly slammed UML as the anti-Madhes party and has been claiming that the people in Madhes will not waste their valuable votes for UML.
RJPN leader Mahanta Thakur is still annoyed with UML Chair KP Oli. He has accused UML of embarrassing Madhesi people by making denigrating comments like ‘Mahkhe Sanglo’, ‘UP’ and ‘Bihari’. “Why would any Madhesi people vote UML?” he told Dhamala.
“We won’t let UML win Madhes,” added Thakur.
Even people in Madhes have shown full support to leader Thakur.
“We don’t want to vote UML because the party has always stood against Madhes. They have never wanted to see Madhesi people enjoying their rights,” said a local resident of Bharatpur.
NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi has also arrived at Biratnagar for polling campaign. Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and Nepali Congress senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel are also all set to fly for Madhes.
For now, Prachanda has remained busy in in Bara and Rautahat districts. He has focused his campaign in the hilly regions of Madhes.
UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal is also heading to Terai on Saturday. Oli is also all set and so is Nepal Loktantrik Fourm Chair Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar.
Leader Gachhadar has also publicly opined that there is no meaning to vote UML.
As we observe the current trend of poll campaign, the Madhes is becoming an election arena, with all political forces active 24-7 for their campaign. The results are far from prediction. The ruling parties, even though they are not forging any alliance to contest in the polls, have webbed secret strategy. Deuba and Prachanda’s only attention is isolating UML in Madhes.
MC has claimed that they would win 20-30 seats in Madhes while UML has claimed 40-50 seats. Likewise, Gachhadar-led Loktantrik has claimed they would win in 5-7 local levels. Upendra Yadav has also said that his party Federal Socialist Forum Nepal will win 10-15 seats. Similarly, RJPN has claimed win in 25-30 local levels.