M A I N   N E W S

Nepal Polls
Maoist victory march continues

Kathmandu, April 13
Sounding the death knell for the 240-year-old Hindu monarchy, the Maoists consolidated their early lead bagging 68 of the 122 seats for which results were declared today, with several of the bigwigs of the Nepali Congress that dominated Nepal’s politics biting the dust. With 21 seats, the Nepali Congress (NC) of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala was way behind the former rebels who are contesting their first election after giving up a decade-long armed struggle in 2006.

Several of the NC’s top leaders suffered humiliating defeats including acting president Shushil Koirala (Banke) and senior NC leader Sujata Koirala, daughter of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala (Sunsari). However, the other Left party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist Leninist), did not fare well winning 19 seats in the April 10 election that will decide the country’s future political system and the fate of the sideline Shah dynasty.

CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal lost from Kathmandu constituency and resigned from the post. While the royalists have failed to open their account, the Maoists, who are seeking abolition of monarchy, continued their victory celebrations in the capital.

Prominent CPN (Maoist) winners included party chairman Prachanda, alias Pushpa Kamal Dahal, second-in-rank leader Baburam Bhattarai, senior leader Ram Bahadur Thapa, spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara, central members Dev Gurung, Barsha Man Pun, Hisila Yami and Pambha Bhushal. Prachanda has won election from both Rolpa and Kathmandu constituencies. King Gyanendra’s staunch supporter Kamal Thapa of Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal) lost while other pro-royalist parties-Surya Bahadur Thapa-led Rashtriya Janshkati Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party headed by Pashupati Shumsher Rana — also received a drubbing.

Among the Terai parties who are seeking greater autonomy for the region dominated by ethnic Indians — Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) has bagged seven seats, while Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party and Sadbhavana Party won one seat each. MPRF president Upendra Yadav won from Sunsari and Morang constituencies. The Terai region witnessed a violent agitation by Madhesi groups last year that left over 150 people dead.

Nepal Workers and Peasants Party has got 2 seats and Janamorcha Nepal has one seats. Among other prominent losers CPN-UML’s senior leader Bamdev Gautam (Bardia), CPN-UML senior standing committee member K.P. Oli and NC leader Khum Bahadur Khadka.

Eight Nepali Congress leaders, who are close to the Koirala family, lost the election. They include Shashank Koirala, Shekhar Koirala, Ashok Koirala, Leela Koirala, Chakra Prasad Bastola and Amod Upadhyaya. Following his humiliating defeat, NC acting president Shushil Koirala quit the top post.

Buoyed by the impressive performance, Maoists chief Prachanda yesterday underlined his commitment to “good relations” with India and China, and said his support to multi-party democracy should not be doubted.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has increased the number of polling stations where re-polling is required to 75 from 60. The EC has also published the schedule for re-polling in 19 constituencies for the landmark April 10 elections to choose an assembly, which would be tasked with re-writing the Constitution of Nepal. — PTI



King ‘hails’ successful polls

In a message on the occasion of the Nepali New Year, embattled King Gyanendra, who has been stripped of his powers and is set to lose his throne, expressed satisfaction over the enthusiastic participation in the election by the people. He hoped that the Nepalese people would be able to establish peace and democracy and protect national interest.

“The enthusiastic participation of the Nepalese people in the Constituent Assembly elections, through which they have emphatically reiterated their firm resolve not to compromise the nation’s existence, independence and integrity under any circumstance, is a source of satisfaction for us,” he said in brief message yesterday.

The King’s positive remarks about the election that will pave the way for abolition of monarchy have come as a surprise, according to political analysts. Prime Minister Koirala, in his New Year message, wished for building a stable, peaceful and prosperous new Nepal and said the serious responsibility to begin an era of change had come to the people. He asked all to work together with the spirit of cooperation to build the nation. — PTI



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