Losers And Winners
The electoral alliance between the CPN-UML and the CPN- Maoist Centre and their decision to unify the two communist parties as well as the Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Party Nepal has sent a shockwave the anti-communist masses as well as the leaders and supporters of the Nepali Congress. The formation of left alliance and announcement to form a single communist party looks natural, considering the unstable political attitude of Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, the chair of the Maoist Centre.
In 10 years after he joined the mainstream political parties, Prachanda has made several abrupt political swings deceiving almost all top leaders of the major political parties. From late Girija Prasad Koirala to UML chief KP Oli and now NC President and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba have been deceived by him. Still, the NC and UML leaders seem to be relying on him to climb the ladder of power.
Late Girija Prasad Koirala dreamed to become the first president of Nepal in his support. KP Oli tried to lengthen his prime ministerial term with his support and Sher Bahadur Deuba sought his support to reach power. But all of them were finally hoodwinked. Koirala died without fulfilling his desire to become the president, Oli had to quit the premiership and now Deuba has found him in a difficult position due to Prachanda. Interestingly, no leader tried to learn a lesson from the tricks played by clever Prachanda.
After the UML, the Maoist Centre and the Naya Shakti Party Nepal revealed their plans to forge electoral alliance and unify their parties, many Nepali Congress leaders have probably lost their sleep. They are now desperately trying to create a democratic alliance to counter the left alliance without considering how fruitful or harmful such alliance will be in the long run.
When the political parties forge electoral alliances, they have to be ready to give considerable number of seats to other parties during the first-past-the-post (FPTP) elections to the House of Representatives and provincial assemblies. For example, the UML candidates will be contesting elections only to 80 to 85 of the total 165 seats under FPTP electoral system if they abide by the agreement of sharing 60/40 per cent seats. The Maoist-Centre will benefit from the alliance as it is likely to win seats in the districts like Kathmandu and Jhapa where it had failed to win a single seat during the 2013 CA polls.
Worse will be the situation of NC if it forges a democratic alliance as it is planning now. The two major Madhes-based parties - Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal and Federal Socialist Forum Nepal - have asked for 55 seats when they have their presence only in two or three provinces. Likewise, the RPP that failed to win a single seat under FPTP electoral system in 2013 has asked for 15 seats and RPP-Democratic will surely ask at least 20 seats and Bijaya Gachchhadar’s Loktantrik Forum Nepal will also ask for 15 seats. It means the NC will have to contest the polls only in about 65 constituencies.
For big parties like the NC and the UML, the electoral alliance is sure to be suicidal. See, if the NC and UML contest the polls without forging alliance, over 140 of the 165 seats will be divided between the two parties, because in most constituencies either the UML or NC candidates will be victorious. Again in many places, the supporters of these two parties will not be casting their votes to Maoist or RPP candidates.
However, small parties like Naya Shakti Party Nepal and RPP will benefit from the alliance as they will win a few seats and garner votes enough to retain the position of the national parties. Ultimately, NC and UML are likely to be the losers due to the last minute electoral alliance.