Shankar Pokharel dealt huge blow in UML’s Lumbini committee election

Kiran Poudel 06 Sep 2023
Shankar Pokharel dealt huge blow in UML’s Lumbini committee election File Photo

KATHMANDU: The 1st General Convention of CPN-UML’s Lumbini Province Committee has dealt a significant blow to party Secretary Shankar Pokharel. Pokharel’s candidate for the post of province committee chairman, Hari Rijal, lost the election. Most of the Pokharel’s candidates for different office-bearers also lost the election.

Radha Krishna Kandel, who enjoys the support of Vice Chairman Bishnu Prasad Poudel, defeated Rijal by a margin of two votes. UML leaders and cadres believe that Rijal’s defeat in the province committee election could impact Pokharel’s political future.

Pokharel is seen by some within the UML as the future chairman of the party. However, in the election in his home province, he appeared weaker in comparison to Vice Chairman Poudel who also aspires to be Chairman KP Sharma Oli’s successor.

Except for Purna Budha Magar, who has been elected as Deputy Secretary, all candidates from Pokharel’s panel for office-bearers lost the election. Bhoj Prasad Shrestha from Kandel’s panel was elected as vice president by a wide margin, while Leela Rana Magar from Kandel’s panel has been elected as Deputy Secretary (female).

Leela Rana Magar is the wife of the late UML leader Dev Rana from Bardiya. Dev Rana previously served as the president of the District Development Committee in Banke and was close to former UML leader Bamdev Gautam.

This, however, is not the first time that Pokharel has faced challenges on his home turf. While Poudel won the parliamentary election held in November last year, Pokharel, who served as the first chief minister of Lumbini Province, faced defeat.

Critics argue that Pokharel’s rapid rise within the party ranks can be attributed to his proximity to party chairman KP Sharma Oli. He was elected General Secretary in the general convention held in Chitwan with Oli’s support. In contrast, Poudel was elected to the post of Deputy General Secretary during the 9th General Convention of the party.

This is not the first time Pokharel has experienced defeat within the party. He was elected as secretary during the 8th convention but was defeated by Paudel for the position of deputy secretary general in 2014. Pokharel, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1994, faced defeat in the 1999 general election.

Pokharel recently turned 60. This means he can remain active in party politics for at least another decade if the age limit for holding party positions remains in place. Poudel, on the other hand, is 64. This means the struggle for power between the two leaders will continue for at least some years.



Published On: 06 Sep 2023


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