Sirha, 13 November, 2017 : Even after the poll alliance between the two major political forces of Madhes--Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN)--most of the candidates of the two political parties are likely to struggle to safeguard their stronghold in Siraha.
As the alliance of left political parties increases its hold in the district, the common candidates of the Madhesi parties for the December 7 polls struggle to retain their hold. Candidates of the left alliance, the democratic alliance and the Madhesi alliance are in a three-way race in the district. Going by the vote received by parties in the recent local polls, the left alliance is ahead of the other two in most of the constituencies of Siraha.
The left alliance is ahead by 9,000 votes in constituency-1 of the district, which has 88,072 voters for the parliamentary and provincial assembly polls. The constituency comprises Lahan Municipality, two wards of Dhangadimai Municipality, Sakhuwankarkatti and Bhagawanpur Rural Municipalities and some wards of Laxmipurtari Rural Municipality.
CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) of the left alliance had together secured 24,394 votes in the constituency while the alliance of FSFN and RJPN together secured 15,835 votes . Nepali Congress (NC) was in third position with 15,210 votes.
NC and Madhesi alliance candidates will face a fresh candidate from the left alliance for the parliamentary poll in the constituency. NC has fielded its central committee member and former lawmaker Pradip Giri while the Madhesi alliance is fielding former lawmaker Rajlal Yadav. UML candidate Ganga Yadav is contesting for parliament for the first time. Giri considers Siraha the cradle of his political career. He had secured victory there in the 1994 parliamentary polls. But after being defeated in the 1999 polls, Giri had not contested direct elections from the district.
RJPN candidate Rajlal Yadav had been elected from the district in the 2008 Constituent Assembly (CA) polls, but he couldn't make it in the 2013 CA poll. While both Giri and Yadav struggle to regain their lost positions in the district, the fresh candidate of the left alliance is confident of success in view of the local poll results.
The left alliance was also ahead in the local poll vote in constituency-2, followed by the RSFN-RJPN alliance with NC in third place. The constituency comprises some wards of Dhangadimai and Golbazar municipalities, Aurahi, Nawarajpur and Bariyapatti rural municipalities and some wards of Laxmipur-Patari Rural Municipality. The left alliance secured 24,573 votes in the constituency in the local polls while the Madhesi alliance had 18,600 votes and NC 15,286.
Three former parliamentarians are in the election fray from Siraha-2. The left alliance has fielded two-time former lawmaker Suresh Chandra Das. He will face Ram Chandra Yadav of NC and Satrudhan Singh Koiree of the Madhesi alliance. Locals say they expect a tough race between Das and Koiree in the constituency.
If the local poll results are any indication how the parliamentary and provincial polls will go, the Madhesi alliance will be under pressure in constituency-3 of the district. The vote secured by candidates of the UML and Maoists together was over 11,000 more in the constituency than the vote for the Madhesi alliance parties in the local polls. The constituency comprises Siraha Municipality, some wards of Golbazar Municipality and Nahara, Bishnupur and Arnama rural municipalities. The left alliance parties secured 27,298 votes in the constituency followed by 15,634 for Madhesi alliance and 13,032 for NC.
FSFN and RJPN common candidate Asheswor Yadav will face left alliance candidate Lilanath Shrestha in Siraha-3. Shrestha was defeated by Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal in the 2013 CA election from the district, while his contender Yadav is a new face in the parliamentary poll.
The left alliance secured most votes in constituency-4. The constituency comprises Karjahna, Kalyanpur and Mirchiya municipalities and some wards of Bishunpur and Nahara rural municipalities. Candidates of the left alliance secured 23,503 votes in the constituency while the Madhesi alliance won 16,531 votes and NC 10,531 in the recent local polls.
Constituency-4 of Siraha will witness a fierce competition between two former ministers and influential leaders within their respective political parties. The Madhesi alliance has fielded RJPN presidium member Raj Kishor who will face Maoist former law minister Ajay Shankar Nayak of the left alliance. The election is expected to be a litmus test for former information and communication minister Yadav in his home district.
After attempts at poll alliance between NC and the Madhesi parties failed, both NC and Madhesi parties are expected to struggle in the district to protect their stronghold in Madhes. NC had emerged victorious in five constituencies of the district in the 2013 CA election while Maoist Chairman Dahal had won in one constituency.