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Losing ground in Madhes

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017
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Pic: Deepak Gyawali

Ex-minister Om Prakash Yadav Guljari led a campaign to bar UML leaders from entering Rupandehi district during the Madhes movement in 2015. In every rabble-rousing speech, Guljari always referred to the UML as an anti-Madhesi force.

But, days before the nomination day of the parliamentary elections, Guljari quit the Madhes-based Rashtriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJPN-N) and joined the same party that he vigorously vilified: the UML. He is busy campaigning as a UML candidate in Rupandehi-4.

Many other Madhesi leaders who were at the forefront of the Madhes movement have joined the same parties whom they dubbed ‘anti-Madhesi’ until recently. As a result, the RJP-N has become weak in the plains districts of Province 5.

Hridayesh Tripathi, who quit RJPN-N to contest elections under the UML’s banner in Nawalparasi-1, says they distanced themselves from RJPN because of the RJP-N’s double standards: “The RJPN’s decision to boycott local elections elsewhere but take part in it in Province 2 proved to be costly.”

Elections in Mustang

Only two weeks remain for the first phase of parliamentary and provincial polls, but there is still no sign of any election fanfare in the trans-Himalayan district of Mustang. The folks here are not boycotting elections, they just don’t show their enthusiasm in public like elsewhere.

No candidate has put up posters, distributed pamphlets or carried out rallies because they know it would be pointless. People in Mustang choose their candidates mostly on the basis of personal relations and what their Mukhiyas  tell them. Ideologies or party manifestos do not matter much.

The NC’s Romi Gauchan and UML’s Prem Prasad Tulachan are in the election race in Mustang. Instead of knocking on the door of every voter, they are trying to outsmart each other to win the support of as many village Mukhiyas  as possible

Dipak Gyawali and Mukesh Pokharel

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