Finalizing candidates in some constituencies seems a tough line to walk for the ruling coalition

For the five parties in the ruling coalition, making the decision to conduct elections as part of an alliance may not have been so difficult. But as talks about seat sharing are ongoing, there seems to be a realization that there are many facets and a multitude of challenges.

There are some constituencies that senior coalition partner leaders may not want to give up.

Bishwa Prakash Sharma, secretary general of the Nepalese Congress, has already decided to contest from Jhapa-1. In 2017 polls, CPN (Maoist Center) leader Ram Karki beat Sharma in that constituency. The Maoist Center then fought the elections in alliance with the CPN-UML. Now the Maoist Congress and Center, together with the CPN (Unified Socialist), the Janata Samajbadi Party and Rastriya Janamorcha, have joined forces against the UML.

Besides the distribution of the 165 seats for the direct election between the partners, a major challenge for them will be to manage the candidates.

Will Karki leave Jhapa-1 for Sharma? Or where will he challenge from?

The case of Karki and Sharma is just one example.

In Tanahun-1, Krishna Kumar Shrestha (Keesan) defeated top Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel. Shrestha was contesting from the UML. But when the UML split in August, he joined coalition partner Madhav Nepal’s Unified Socialist party.

Poudel is ready to contest the constituency election, and Shrestha has also shown interest.

In Sindhupalchok-1, Mohan Basnet of Congress said he would not leave his constituency for anyone this time. Agni Sapokta of the Maoist Center won the last elections in the same constituency. He is currently the Speaker of the House, but is likely to challenge again from there.

Two key leaders of the ruling coalition are eyeing Doti – Prem Ale of the United Socialist and Bir Bahadur Balayar of the Congress, who also chairs the Sudurpaschim provincial committee of the Nepalese Congress.

Ale had won the last election on the UML ticket.

Balayar claimed his candidacy citing that Congress won more than two-thirds of local government leaders in recently concluded polls.

Observers say tension could rise within the ruling coalition given multiple claims in some constituencies.

“Managing candidacies in such constituencies will be a headache for the coalition leadership,” said Uddhab Pyakurel, assistant professor of political sociology at Kathmandu University.

The Maoist Center had won 36 constituencies in elections held five years ago because it had managed to defeat Congress candidates with the support of the UML.

Now these defeated candidates may not want to leave their constituency for the Maoist Center just because the party is a coalition partner.

The United Socialist did not exist then, but those of the party that had won under the UML ticket had also defeated Congress.

According to Pyakurel, the Congress, the Maoist Center and United Socialism are forced to fight together for the elections, but in many constituencies there are petitioners from all three parties.

Puranjan Acharya, a political analyst, says that even practically the ruling coalition is not finding proper bases and leaders of some coalition parties remain adamant on fighting from a certain constituency, it is in big trouble .

According to him, the high number of votes that Congress expects to move or transfer to partner candidates is impractical because candidates from other parties hold fewer votes to fight against the UML.

“Other parties only have votes in the lead in a handful of areas, which has made it difficult to decide on candidates,” Acharya said.

Failure to effectively manage candidates could lead to disappointment among executives and leaders, observers say.

In addition, disgruntled leaders in the ruling coalition could support other parties in the polls, according to Pyakurel.

“To maintain their grip on their local constituency, they could deceive their own party. Bargaining in constituencies to give political space to leaders of other parties, ignoring the main [local] candidate from the region would cause problems,” Pyakurel said.

Acharya foresees a similar problem.

“Congress, which leads the ruling coalition, could lose a lot of public support and disappoint its key leaders if it were to cede constituencies to coalition leaders,” he said.

Leaders of the coalition parties, however, say issues over nominations will be resolved, although they agree that some key leaders have shown interest in the same constituencies.

Chandra Bhandari, a Nepali Congress leader, said only a handful of leaders hold ultimate power in political parties.

“As there is a chance to become a lawmaker and later a proportional system minister, I don’t think there will be any conflict,” he said, referring to the situation of candidates leaving such contested candidates. in exchange for proportional representation. headquarters.

The Maoist Centre’s chief whip, Dev Gurung, hopes that the main leaders will resolve the problems that arise regarding the candidates.

“They fixed bigger issues. In a multi-party system, problems arise between parties in an alliance. Senior management will definitely sort things out,” Gurung told the Post. “All other leaders will have to comply with the decisions of senior management.”