Nepal polls: Triple whammy for Prachanda
Kathmandu – The 2013 Constituent Assembly elections in Nepal have dealt a severe blow to Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda’s political career with three of his family members being defeated in the polls.
Considered a strong man in Nepal politics after 2006 when the Maoists decided to shun violence and join the peace process, Prachanda was the centre of attention and emerged as a major leader in Nepal.
But as the results of the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections unfolded, his party, the single largest winner in the 2008 elections with 120 seats out of 240 in the first-post-the-past category, faced a humiliating defeat across the country.
Several of the party’s top leaders bit the dust and many Maoist bastions were demol! ished that the party had set up during the 2008 elections.
According to the Election Commission of Nepal, the Maoist party had won just 24 seats by Saturday morning, lagging far behind traditional forces like centre-right Nepali Congress (NC) and moderate Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), who stood first and second by securing 93 and 80 seats respectively.
Earlier, Prachanda faced a humiliating defeat in Kathmandu-10 constituency at the hands of Nepali Congress candidate Rajan KC.
Interestingly, Prachanda had defeated Rajan KC in the first Constituent Assembly elections in 2008.
The defeat, which grabbed national and international headlines, prompted Prachanda to organise a press conference where he warned that his party may not accept the poll results as so many cases of rigging had taken place across the country.
Though Prachanda finally managed to win by a narrow margin from Siraha-5 constituency, three of hi! s family members lost the elections.
Prachanda’s daughter Renu, ! brother Narayan and sister-in-law Bina Magar Dahal lost.
Renu lost from Kathmandu-1 constituency against NC general secretary Prakash Man Singh by a huge margin. His brother Narayan was defeated by CPN-UML candidate Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel in Prachanda’s home town Chitwan-3 constituency.
Bina was defeated in Kanchanpur-1 constituency by NC candidate Devan Singh Bista.
The decision to award tickets to the three family members was widely criticised. Many party leaders termed it “nepotism and favouritism” but Prachanda was adamant.
“We are seriously reviewing what happened across the country and why we lost the elections. We have called a meeting of the Politburo and Central Committee Saturday and Sunday to assess the ground reality,” said party spokesperson Agni Sapkota.