Ex-UML chief exaggerates party’s 1997 poll performance

Injina Panthi / April 11, 2018

Former Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal                                                                                 Photo: Youtube.com

CPN-UML’s former chief and ex-Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal made the following statement in an interview aired on Sagarmatha Television on April 6:

“In the [2017] local elections, we became the largest party by securing 45 percent seats while in the 1997 local elections, we [CPN-UML] alone had won 64 percent seats.”

According to the Election Commission’s publication titled ‘Nepalma Nirwachan Ko Ithihas’, in the 1997 local elections, CPN-UML had secured 52.18 percent of the total votes cast. This figure is wrong, because this figure although mentioned in the commission’s own publication, was based on a Gorkhapatra report of June 9, 1997 and not on the final election results. The same Gorkhapatra report had also mentioned that final results of 24,000 local constituencies were still awaited.

According to another report published in Gorkhapatra on June 15, 1997, “By June 14, 1997, the results of 178,713 local body positions out of the total 188,010 positions had been declared and the CPN-UML won 51.22 percent positions, Nepali Congress 29.95 positions, Rastriya Prajatantra party 12.54 percent positions, Sadbhavana Party 1.25 percent positions and independent and other candidates won 5.04 percent positions.

Likewise, according to report published in Kantipur on June 19, 1997, out of 183,580 local body positions whose results had been declared, CPN UML had won 51.10 percent positions, Nepali Congress 30.07 percent positions, Rastriya Prajatantra Party 12.51 percent positions, Sadbhavana Party 1.2 percent, and independent and other candidates won 5.07 percent positions.

Even if the UML had won all the remaining constituencies whose votes were still being counted, the UML would not have won more than 53 percent positions.

Similarly, at a press conference organized on June 15, 1997, UML standing committee member KP Oli had said that his party had expected to win over 60 percent positions but could secure just 52 percent positions. (Source: Kantipur Daily, 16 June 1997)

Therefore, Jhalanath Khanal’s claim that UML had secured 64 percent seats in the 1997 local elections is an exaggeration.

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