Ilam by-election: NC picks Khadka, UML eyes Suhang as parties prepare for showdown

Gyanu Ghimire

February 27, 2024


Ilam by-election: NC picks Khadka, UML eyes Suhang as parties prepare for showdown

Dambar Bahadur Khadka (left) and Suhang Nembang.

KATHMANDU: With the Election Commission (EC) announcing the by-election date, political parties are gearing up for a vital showdown.

Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML are expected to be the major contenders following the prominent by-election in Ilam after the demise of CPN-UML’s House of Representatives (HoR) member, Subhash Nembang.

As preparations for the political battle intensify, NC eyes the repeat candidacy of its District Chairman, Dambar Bahadur Khadka, while CPN-UML, the main opposition party, is likely to nominate Suhang Nembang, son of late Subhash Nembang.

Sher Bahadur Deuba, President of NC, summoned Khadka to his residence at Budhanilkantha on Sunday, directing him to prepare for the by-election.

Sources within NC confirm that Deuba has already granted Khadka the party’s ticket for the upcoming election.

Upon arriving in Illam, Khadka expressed confidence in his victory, regardless of the opposition candidate.

Similarly, UML is gearing up to field Suhang Nembang as its candidate.

However, Mahesh Basnet, District Chairperson of the party, maintains that the party has not made an official decision regarding the candidate.

Basnet stated that the party has summoned its district committee meeting on Wednesday to make crucial decisions about the candidate for the by-election.

Contrary to Basnet’s statements, a secretariat member of the party revealed to Khabarhub that UML has unofficially decided to nominate Suhang as its candidate, with party Chairman KP Sharma Oli already instructing Suhang to prepare for the election.

Illam has traditionally been a battleground between CPN-UML and NC. In the election of 2079 BS, CPN-UML, represented by Subhash Nembang, secured 30,020 votes, while NC’s Khadka garnered 29,906 votes.

If recent election data is any indication, UML holds approximately 30,000 votes in the district, while NC, CPN (Maoist Center), and CPN (Unified Socialist) collectively have around 29,900 votes.

According to the District Election Office, Illam, there were 115,342 voters in the district as of 2079 BS.