In Okhaldhunga, where independent Gyanendra Rumdali was elected chair of the Manebhanjyang Rural Municipality, there are no independent candidates running for Parliament, and only one for the Provincial Assembly.
In Dolpa, where independents Karma Chhoibel Gurung and Pemba Wangchen Gurung were elected chair and vice chair of Dolpo Buddha Rural Municipality and Shey Phoksundo Rural Municipality — there is only one independent run for Parliament this time.
Manang, where independent Chhiring Gurung was elected chairperson of Manang Ngisyang Rural Municipality, has only one independent candidate in federal polls. In fact, Manang actually has more registered voters (6,779) than its population in the 2021 census (5,645) because of outmigration — a phenomenon in other mid-mountain districts as well.
The number of independent candidates has gone up in this election because so many are standing from cities. Of the 2,412 candidates contesting federal polls in direct ballots, 867 (36%) are independents — either first-time or rebel candidates refused tickets by their parties.
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In Syangja-1, incumbent MP Narayan Prasad Marasini of the UML is up against the NC’s Raju Thapa for the third time. While Marasini beat Thapa to Parliament during the 2017 polls, Thapa won the seat during the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections. The two will have a serious contender in Bodhraj Regmi from Rabi Lamichhane’s Independent Party along with eight other candidates, among which is 70-year old independent Lok Bahadur Damai.
In Syangja-2, there is intense competition between incumbent Padma Kumari Aryal of the UML and her main challenger Dhanraj Gurung of the coalition, but 36-year-old environmentalist Sagar Dhakal is also pulling crowds as an independent contestant.
But despite Dhakal proclaiming, “Political parties as we know them are dead”, this does not seem to be entirely the case for his and other constituencies across rural Nepal.
Indeed, voters in Syangja-1 constituency remained unaware of the independent candidate, confusing his name and election symbol with other independent candidates.
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