The understanding between ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and RPP to ally for seven federal constituencies looks set to be violated in Jhapa.
The putative alliance is in trouble after NC leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula and RPP General Secretary Rajendra Lingden both refused to leave Jhapa-3 for each other. The task force formed by the two parties had signed a written agreement where NC had agreed to support RPP candidates in seven constituencies including Jhapa-3.
NC had accordingly put Sitaula’s name at the top in the closed list it submitted to the Election Commission (EC) for candidates in the Proportional Representation (PR) system. The party removed his name from the list while submitting the amended list to the EC after he insisted to contest in the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system from Jhapa-3. The party has since announced he will contest from Jhapa-3.
RPP had requested Lingden to not contest following Sitaula’s stance but Lingden threatened to stand as an independent candidate if the party were to deny him ticket there. A top RPP leader told Setopati that the two parties have decided to honor the agreement in other districts and take part in a ‘amicable’ contest in Jhapa-3 after Sitaula and Lingden both refused to budge from their stance.
“NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and RPP Chairman Kamal Thapa have agreed to maintain the alliance even after the acrimony in Jhapa,” the leader stated. “The two parties will now contest against each other in Jhapa but that will not affect the alliance,” the leader added.
The two parties will now ally in Makwanpur-1, Parsa-2, Dailekh-1, Kathmandu-7, Banke-2 and a constituency in Dhanusha.
The left alliance of CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center), meanwhile, has decided to support Lingden against Sitaula in Jhapa-3. “We have almost reached an agreement to support Lingden in Jhapa-3, and RPP will support the left alliance in other four constituencies in Jhapa in return,” a UML leader told Setopati.
“We have not reached a formal agreement yet but we have an understanding to that regard,” Lingden confirmed the alliance with left alliance in Jhapa. He stated that he has been preparing to contest in Jhapa-3 on his own and claimed that he will win with support of either NC or the left alliance.
The reaction of NC to the understanding reached between the left alliance and RPP for Jhapa Tuesday night has yet to be known. Makwanpur Congress has already been protesting the decision to support RPP Chairman Kamal Thapa in the district.
It will be interesting to see if RPP supports the left alliance in Jhapa if its alliance with NC were threatened due to the disagreement over Jhapa-3.