By Our Reporter
As in the first phase local elections, the CPN-UML has emerged the largest party in the second phase elections held on June 28.
The UML almost swept in the hilly districts of Province No 1 except for Panchthar, Okhaldhunga and Bhojpur. Even in Tarai districts of Jhapa and Sunsari UML fared better than NC. However, in Morang UML failed to win even in its strongholds like Urlabrai and Ratuwagadhi.
In Province 5 and 7 UML did far better than it had expected. It won elections in the Tarai districts like Rupandehi, Kapilvastu and Kailali despite its anti-Madhes image. More surprising it was the UML’s win in Tikapur municipality where 7 police men including a minor was killed in August 2015. The municipality was believed to be stronghold of Madhes-based parties, but UML’s Tapan Rawal won the Mayoral post.
Many argued that the voters expressed their ire against ruling parties for providing compensation of Rs 15 million to Resham Chaudhary, believed to be mastermind behind the Tikapur carnage.
Likewise, the party is leading counting in Siddhartha Nagar Municipality, a stronghold of Madhes-based parties in Rupandehi and several municipalities of Kapilvastu, Banke, Kailalai and Kanchanpur.
UML almost swept in Dang from where NC had won all seats in 2013 CA elections.
The Tarai-based parties and their cadres have been portraying the UML as anti-Madhes party but the voters in Province 5 and 7 proved the allegations wrongs. Even in Province 1 the people of Sunsari voted for UML. In Banke, Bardiya and Dang the party won more seats while in hills it almost swept baring Arghakahnchi where NC and Maoist Centre had forged alliance.
But the UML managed to defeat the NC-Maoist alliance in Rupandehi as UML was leading in Butwal Sub Metropolitan City when this story was in progress.
In Province 7 NC emerged the biggest party, however a few important municipalities were captured by the UML.
By the time this report was prepared, UML has won 20 seats more than NC but the Maoist-Centre was left far behind with only 35 seats in total whereas UML won chiefs in 125 local bodies and NC in 105 by the time this story was developed. However, nearly 150 seats of deputy chairs/mayors were won by UML.
NC was leading in Biratnagar, the only Metropolis but was behind UML in five sub-metropolitan cities, including Butwal where the NC and Maoist Centre have forged election alliance. In Tulsipur and Ghorahi sub-Metrpolitant Cities UML won while it was leading in Dharan and Itahari Sub-Metrpolitan Cities. RPP won in Nepalgunj Sub-metropolitan City and NC was leading in Dhanghadi Sub Metropolitan City.
Although the Maoist-Centre fared better in the second phase polls than the first phase, the voters seemed to have rejected the Maoist, as it won only in limited Gunaplaikas and only in five municipalities. Although Maoist’s presence was weak in Province 1, it won 8 Gaunpalikas in this province.
The poor show of the Maoist-Centre clearly suggested that the party has lost its relevancy. Moreover, the weakening position of the Maoist-Centre can be taken as Nepal’s march towards two-party system. Other parties, including RPP won less than five seats. Even the Madhes-based parties like Upendra Yadav’s Federal Alliance failed to win in more than five local units.
Many think that the voters punished NC because of the party’s tilt towards Indian establishment and its stance in favour of the demands of the Madhes-based parties. Interestingly, in the districts with high literacy rates like Jahpa and Ilam, the UML won all municipalities and over two thirds Gaunpalikas.