NC takes lead in Nepal polls

Kathmandu, Nov 23 :The Nepali Congress today took a lead over the CPN-UML in polls to elect an Assembly that will draft Nepal’s new Constitution while the Maoists led by Prachanda were headed for a humiliating defeat.
Nepali Congress (NC) won 101 seats while the CPN-UML bagged 89 out of the 231 directly elected seats for which results have been declared so far.
The Unified CPN-Maoist was trailing far behind in third position with 24 seats. Other fringe parties won 17 seats.
With only nine results for the directly elected seats yet to be announced, NC appeared set to emerge as the party with most seats in this category.
The counting of votes will lead to the formation of a 601-member Constituent Assembly, including 240 elected through direct voting. Proportionate voting will elect 335 members and the remaining 26 will be nominated by the Government.
A party needs a total of 301 seats to get an absolute majority.
After suffering a humiliating defeat in a constituency in Kathmandu, where he finished third, UCPN-Maoist chief Prachanda was today elected from a seat in Siraha in southern Nepal by a margin of just 900 votes. He secured 15,244 votes to defeat his nearest rival Lila Shrestha of CPN-UML.
Maoists have threatened to boycott the Assembly, alleging a conspiracy.
However, at a high level meeting convened by the UCPN-Maoist to review the results, many senior leaders differred with Prachanda’s call to boycott the Assembly, party sources said.
Senior leaders Baburam Bhattarai and Narayankaji Shrestha did not agree with Prachanda’s stance, the sources said.
“I still believe that the agenda put forth by the UCPN-Maoist regarding the progressive transformation of the State and economic prosperity still holds true,” Bhattarai said.
Among the smaller parties, the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic and Terai Madhes Democratic Party won four constituencies each while the Rastriya Prajatantra Party bagged three seats.
Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Nepal won two seats while three fringe parties and an independent candidate claimed one constituency each.
The counting of votes, under the proportionate system also got underway this morning. The CPN-UML was in the lead in the vote count with 45,000 votes. NC got 31,160 votes while UCPN-M bagged 24,109 votes. (PTI)


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