Run from Kathmandu, not Gorkha: Maoist Center tells Baburam

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CPN (Maoist Center) has suggested Naya Shakti convenor Baburam Bhattarai run the upcoming election from Kathmandu and not Gorkha as he wishes.

Bhattarai has already announced that he will contest in Gorkha-2 in the federal election but Maoist Center is trying to snub him by giving the ticket for Gorkha-2 to Narayan Kaji Shrestha.  

Maoist Center feels it will be difficult for the party's fortunes in Gorkha if Bhattarai were to run there with the election symbol of CPN-UML. It has expressed reluctance to concede Gorkha-2 to Bhattarai in the meeting of the task force formed by the Left Alliance for sharing of election tickets.

The party has argued in the task force meeting that a person who is for alternative political force and politics for prosperity should contest in Kathmandu and not Gorkha, according to sources.

Maoist Center and UML will not field candidates if Bhattarai were to run in Gorkha on the election symbol of UML forcing the cadres of Maoist Center to campaign for the symbol sun there.

A Maoist leader claims that the ground in Gorkha is adverse to Bhattarai. "Many Maoist candidates lost in the recent local election in the district by wafer thin margins of up to two votes due to Naya Shakti. Nepali Congress (NC) won in Palungtar. Our cadres, therefore, feel that he should not be allowed to return now after betrayal in the local election," the leader confided with Setopati.

Maoist Center has made Gorkha an issue of prestige. Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Bhattarai both hail from Gorkha-2. Maoist mayoral candidate had finished second in Palungtar in the local election and Naya Shakti's third but the margin was very thin.

Bhattarai will breathe a bit easier there with UML support in the constituency that also includes Ajirkot, Siranchowk and Sulikot rural municipalities apart from Palungtar.

Bhattarai talked with UML Chairman KP Oli Tuesday morning after Maoist Center asked him to not contest from Gorkha.   

Maoist Center has recommended the names of Shrestha, Hit Raj Pandey and Chuda Mani Khadka from Gorkha-2. UML will get to field its candidates for the provincial assembly in Gorkha, where the party is weak, after supporting Bhattarai there.