By-election: Three-pronged contest in Tanahun-1

Bijay Nepal 07 Apr 2023
By-election: Three-pronged contest in Tanahun-1 (From left) Swarnim Wagle of RSP, Govinda Raj Bhattarai of Nepali Congress and Sarbendra Khanal of CPN-UML.

POKHARA: Election campaigning is in full swing in the Tanahun-1 constituency of the House of Representatives. Nine candidates are vying for the vacant seat in the by-election to be held on April 23. However, the main contest is expected to be between the candidates of CPN-UML, Nepali Congress (NC), and Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP).

NC has fielded Govinda Raj Bhattarai in the constituency, while former Inspector General of Nepal Police Sarbendra Khanal is the candidate of CPN-UML. Similarly, Dr Swarnim Wagle is RSP’s candidate in the constituency. Dr Wagle, who was held in high esteem by the NC rank and file, left the party to join RSP a few days before the nomination deadline.

The Election Commission (EC) is holding the by-election in Tanahun-1, which became vacant with the election of Ram Chandra Poudel to the post of President. Poudel won the seat in the election held on November 20 last year, securing 25,361 votes. His closest opponent was Ek Bahadur Rana of UML who received 19,981 votes. Former Nepali Congress leader Govinda Raj Joshi, who contested the election as an independent candidate, secured 6,886 votes, while RSP’s Bikas Sigdel received 6,044 votes.

Assessing that Wagle will get significant votes from NC supporters, UML is hopeful that it can win the seat if it became successful in protecting the votes that it got in the election held in November last year. While UML is focused on retaining its support base from the previous election, Nepali Congress is making efforts to win over the supporters of independent candidate Govinda Raj Joshi, who secured a significant number of votes in the previous election. That is why NC General Secretary Gagan Kumar Thapa is making all efforts to appease Joshi. The party recently withdrew disciplinary action taken against him with the hope that Joshi will support the NC candidate in the by-election.

The support of coalition partners has boosted Bhattarai’s chance of winning the election. “As CPN (Maoist Center), CPN (Unified Socialist), Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP), and Loktantrik Samajbadi Party (LSP) all are supporting Bhattarai, we are confident of victory,” Dhruba Wagle of NC siad.

NC is concerned that its supporters may also vote for Dr Swarnim Wagle who is campaigning on his economic expertise and plans to improve the country’s economy. Bibeksheel Sajha party has already announced its support for Wagle, while RSP has intensified its campaigning efforts by setting up offices in all wards of the constituency.

In addition to these three candidates, six other candidates are contesting the election. They include Ram Prasad Prajapati of Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, Purna Bahadur Rana of Rastriya Janamukti Party, Prem Bahadur Thapa of Mongol National Organization, Ganesh Shrestha of Nepal Communist Party (Samajbadi), Shobha Gurung of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), and Bhim Bahadur Sunar of Nagarik Unmukti Party.

The Tanahun-1 constituency comprises Bhanu Municipality, Bandipur, Anbu Khaireni, and Devghat Rural Municipality, as well as Wards 1-4 and 7-14 of Byas Municipality.

Along with Tanahun-1, the Election Commission is also holding by-elections in Tanahun-2 and Bara-2 constituencies of the House of Representatives on April 23.

Published On: 07 Apr 2023


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