By Our Political Analyst
As expected prior to the local election, the CPN-UML has won the largest number of seats in the first phase of local polls held on May 31.
As of Tuesday it won 119 posts of mayors in municipalities and chairmen of rural municipalities while its candidates are leading in three of the four Metropolitan Cities, It means, the party is likely to win at least in 125 local units, mostly the densely populated metropolis and municipalities.
The Nepali Congress won 103 posts of mayors and chairmen and its candidate was leading in Lalitpur Metropolitan City and Hetauda Sub Metropolitan City by the time this news was prepared. It seems NC will win 105 local units, mostly in the rural areas of province 4. NC fared badly in Kathmandu valley, from where it had won 12 of 15 seats in the Constituent Assembly election held in 2013.
According to the latest result, UML won 51 mayors and 70 chairmen of rural municipalities whereas NC won 31 mayors and 72 chairmen of rural municipalities Likewise, UML won 49 deputy mayors and 80 deputy chairmen whereas NC bagged 24 deputy mayors and 61 deputy chairmen.
The CPN-Maoist won the third largest number of seats—10 mayors, 12 deputy mayors and 36 chairmen and vice chairmen.
The biggest loser was the Rastriya Prajatantra Party. It won only one chairman and five deputy chairmen.
When the Kamal Thapa-led RPP-N and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party of Pashupati Shumsher Rana was unified, it was expected that the unified RPP would emerge as the third biggest party. But its performance in the local poll showed whether the party will lose the position of national party. Except for Raja Ram Shrestha, the candidate of deputy mayor of Kathmandu, no RPP candidate secured five-digit votes. Most RPP mayoral candidates received less than 1000 votes.
Party’s president Kamal Thapa’s decision to join and quit the Dahal-led government and back the constitution amendment proposal was blamed for the damaging performance of the party.
Some said Thapa’s remarks against former King Gyanedndra contributed to the poor show of the party.
Likewise, NC failed to win in any local units in Chitwan district, one of its strongholds, from where late Sushil Koirala had won 2013 CA election with a big margin.
Suicidal decision of party president Sher Bahadur Deuba was blamed for the humiliating defeat of NC in Chitwan as well as Kathmandu.
Many voters who have been casting their votes to NC candidates since 1990, did not vote NC mayor candidate Raju Raj Joshi in Kathmandu as they were angry with Deuba for registering impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushil Karki.
Likewise, the row over the appointment of IGP and the appointment of controversial individuals as ambassadors also irked the NC supporters. Angrier they became when Deuba withdrew the candidacy of Dinesh Koirala from the mayor of Bharatpur Metropolis. Deuba had taken the suicidal decision to please Maoist boss Pushpa Kamal Dahal so that would quit the post for him.
Indeed, Deuba put the party at stake for the post of Prime Minister and the defeat of NC is likely to be costly for him.
Not only the supporters but also the leaders of the Poudel faction in the party have accused Deuba for the defeat of NC in Kathmandu and other key municipalities.
A meeting of Poudel camp decided that the president should apologise for his wrong decision before the second phase poll. The NC voters were unhappy when Deuba decided to forge alliance with the Maoist-Centre, and the alliance resulted to be counter-productive.
The poor results have brought Poudel and KhumBahadur Khadka together posing a threat to Deuba’s position in the parliamentary party. When Krishna Sitaula and Khadka come close to Poudel, Deuba is sure to lose his majority in the parliamentary party and the central committee.
While RPP and NC suffered defeat due to the party chiefs, Maoist-Centre improved its position by winning 46 seats including 10 mayors. The performance of the Maoist-Centre was better than its performance in 2013 CA polls. However, the party fared very badly in Kathmandu, it did not win any post of mayor in the Kathamndu valley. Though the Dahal-led government freed the valley from loadshedding, the voters did not reward the party for the feat. Even in Bharatpur, RenuDahal, daughter of PM Dahal is still uncertain to secure her victory over the UML candidate. The alliance between NC and Maoist failed to yield expected results both in Chitwan and Kaski.
Of course, the local poll helped the Maoist consolidate its position. The poll results showed Maoist Centre will emerge not only as the third largest party but a king maker in the federal parliament.