Renu Dahal elected Bharatpur mayor

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Gyawali's dreams torn with the ballots

Renu Dahal of CPN (Maoist Center) has been elected mayor of Bharatpur Metropolitan City on Saturday.

The joint mayoral candidate of Maoist Center and Nepali Congress (NC) defeated CPN-UML candidate Devi Gyawali by 203 votes almost three months after polling was first done on May 14, and reelection was done in ward number 19 following tearing of ballots by Maoist Center cadres. Dahal secured 43,127 votes and Gyawali 42,924. Dahal, daughter of Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, has also become the first female mayor of a metropolis in Nepal.

Dahal had cut the deficit by 643 votes to 221 after completion of counting in Bharatpur-19 where reelection was held on Friday. She overcome that deficit and raced to victory in ward number 20 where 3,302 votes were cast.

Parvati Shah of NC, meanwhile, was elected deputy mayor by a huge margin. NC, earlier, swept all the positions from Bharatpur-19 with Karna Bahadur Gurung elected ward chairman with 1,476 votes beating UML candidate Prakash Tamang who received 1,097 votes.

Chuncha Pariyar from NC has been elected ward member in dalit women's category, Sadhana Parajuli in women's category, and Jay Narayan Sapkota and Drona Gurung in open category.

Vote counting in Bharatpur-19 had started at 11:30 Friday night after reelection earlier on the day.

Vote counting in Bharatpur had been stopped after Maoist Center cadres on May 29 tore ballots after Dahal looked set to lose to Gyawali. Gyawali had secured 40,980 votes and Dahal 40,116 when counting in 27 of the 29 wards of Bharatpur Metropolitan City was completed, which means Gyawali was leading by 864 votes.

Votes of wards 19 and 20 remained uncounted. Gyawali's lead had fallen to 734 votes when 1,800 out of the total of 2,897 cast in the ward were counted. Maoist Center had torn the ballots after seeing that Dahal will not be able to overcome that deficit after counting the remaining votes in ward number 19 and the votes of ward number 20.   

The Supreme Court on Sunday had endorsed the Election Commission decision to conduct reelection in Bharatpur-19.  A meeting of the Election Commission on June 3 had taken a decision to hold reelection in Bharatpur-19.


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