By Shiva Shankar Mishra Bara, Mar. 16: As elections near, a trend has taken hold in Madhes province, one of leaders and cadres switching parties. With the date of the local election less than two months away, political parties have begun campaigning in Bara, Parsa and Rautahat as well as other districts of the province and leaders have begun moving into parties that they feel is most likely to give them a victory.
Just on Sunday, Mahantha Thakur, president of the Loktantrik Samajbadi Party Nepal (LSP-N), welcomed many people quitting different parties with garlands and inducted them into his party amidst a grand ceremony at Devtal Rural Municipality in Bara.
Also in Bara, at an event in Adarsha Kotwal Rural Municipality, chairman of CPN (UML) KP Sharma Oli touted the strength of his party and claimed that it would win the most votes in the upcoming polls. He also attended a wedding at Birta, Birgunj as part of his party’s election campaign and welcomed Vijay Kumar Sarawagi, mayor of Birgunj Metropolitan City, into his party. Many other UML leaders are also busy going around Madhes, welcoming new entrants. Stakeholders say that UML seeks to prioritise Madhes for the elections to various levels of government going to be held this year.
CPN (Maoist Centre) has also begun reaching out to voters in the rural areas of Parsa. Meanwhile, the Nepali Congress has also started a door-to-door campaign from Sunday. The party has stated that it will assess the ground-level situation of the party and then formulate the election strategy.
Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba arrived in Birgunj on March 10 and welcomed Deep Narayan Rauniyar, mayor of Pokhariya Municipality, and other leaders from various political forces into his party.
In Parsa, Nepali Congress has selected representatives to be mobilised in each of the 14 local levels of the district for the election. “We will begin going to the villages and listening to the people immediately after Fagu which falls on Friday,” said Congress Parsa President Janardan Singh Chhetri.
Former Prime Minister Madhav Nepal also kicked off the electoral campaign for his party CPN (Unified Socialist) last week from his home district Rautahat. He also greeted leaders and cadres who had quit other parties and inducted them into his.
Additionally, Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal (JSP-N) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) have also been working to attract voters and organise cadres in Madhes. The issue of forming electoral alliances has also created waves within political parties. Especially the leaders of the ruling coalition have asked their party members to avoid making statements against their coalition partners.