Koirala’s daughter sinks, nephew rises in Nepal polls

April 12th, 2008 - 2:22 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, April 12 (IANS) Nepal Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s dream of nurturing a dynasty was floundering Saturday after vote counting showed his daughter and minister without portfolio Sujata Koirala falling behind in the no-holds barred electoral battle in the volatile Terai plains. However, his nephew Shashank Koirala is ahead in Nawalparasi in southwestern Nepal.

Sujata, who was nominated minister last year amidst criticism from members of Koirala’s own ruling Nepali Congress party, is locked in a battle in Sunsari district in south Nepal with maverick politician Upendra Yadav, whose newly-founded ethnic Madhesi Janadhikar Forum is expected to challenge the supremacy of the ruling parties in Terai.

Sujata Friday asked the Election Commission to stop counting votes in at least 10 stations, alleging tampering.

Sujata’s defeat would be a direct blow to Koirala, whose other relatives are also struggling in the plains.

However, Shashank Koirala is forging steadily ahead against odds in Nawalparasi, where Maoists are leading in two out of three seats. Shashank is the son of the late Bishweshwor Prasad Koirala, Koirala’s charismatic elder brother and first elected prime minister of Nepal.

If he wins, it will mean the rise of another son in Nepal’s politics.

Another nephew Shekhar Koirala, who played a key role two years ago in forging an understanding between the NC and the Maoists, is lagging behind a Madhesi Janadhikar Forum stalwart in Morang, Koirala’s home district.

Vijay Kumar Gachchhedar, a disgruntled NC leader who quit the party to join the ethnic party on the eve of the constituent assembly election, holds the record of never having lost a poll from his constituency and is leading the race.

Another son has already made his mark in the constituent assembly election.

Prakash Man Singh, former physical planning and works minister, made history Friday by becoming the first victor in the twice-deferred critical poll.

Prakash, who had lost two earlier elections, got a thumping majority from Kathmandu over his nearest communist rival, education and sports minister Pradeep Nepal.

Prakash is the son of the late Ganesh Man Singh, who led the pro-democracy movement in Nepal in 1990.

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