For the first time, social media are dominating the outcome of national-level elections in Nepal in urban areas. However, the reality in a rural area is different.
Comments and social media projects by urban elites and rural mindsets are different. Rural folks have their own way to cast votes and choose their candidates. Knowing the growing impacts of social media, major political parties and smaller political parties are using all social media sites through Tiktok, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Youtube as well as all the online line Nepali media.
Given the growing access to the internet, how these digital media will impact the elections is yet to see. Nepal is a country of over 60 percent of voters are young. However, old parties led by three old leaders Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Maoist Center is going to secure the top three positions. Under the leadership of Rajendra Lingden, RPP will secure the fourth position.
So far, the four parties' alliance will likely secure the majority to form the government and CPN-UML will likely to be a strong opposition. Other new parties are unlikely to make any breakthrough. For Bibekshil Sajaha party, this will likely be a disastrous year.
As the elections is just four days away, top leaders of major political parties are in rush to address the political rallies. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, former Prime Minister and Maoist Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and CPN-UML chair KP Sharma Oli are on the nationwide tour.
CPN-UML leader Bishnu Poudel is among the few UML leaders after Oli to face a weak competitor. CPN-Unified Socialist leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is contesting elections from Rautahat, is also focusing his time on his own constituency in Rautahat. Similarly, Madheshi leaders like Upendra Yadav and Mahanta Thakur are confined to their own constituencies.
Former prime minister Jhalnath Khanal and former speaker Subhash Chandra Nembang are facing stiff completion. As a joint candidate of the alliance, Khanal has a bit easier than Nembang.
NC young leader NP Saud is quietly canvassing from his constituencies. Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand is facing united opposition candidate and RPP leader Dipak Bohara in the elections.
Among the women candidates Nepali Congress leader Sujata Koirala, Pushpa Bhusal and Mahalaxmi Upadhyaya, Maoist leader Pampha Bhusal, Onsari Gharti, Manushi Yami, CPN-US leader Ram Kumari Jhankri, CPN-UML leader Bidhya Bhattarai are projected to win elections.
Despite criticism and challenges from youth, these three old leaders Deuba, Prachanda and Oli are in a highly comfortable zone in elections. Although social media are full of stories against them, their challengers are yet to give them a hard fight.
Nepali Congress senior leaders Ram Chandra Poudel, Dr. Shekhar Koirala and young leader Gagan Kumar Thapa, who declares himself as a prime minister candidate for a new parliament, are still struggling in their constituencies. Thapa is facing a tough fight from CPN-UML young leader Rajan Bhattarai. This is the reason neither of them is yet to address any programs outside the valley.
Former minister and political stalwart Govinda Raj Joshi is giving a tough challenge to Poudel. Defeated last time from the Tanahu constituency no 1, Poudel’s position is in a vulnerable position.
Although RPP chair Rajendra Linden has to face a tough fight from NC leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula, he has been spending his time visiting different parts of the country to canvass for his party candidates.
A seasoned politician and Nepali Congress senior leader Prakash Man Singh is facing a tough contest with RPP senior vice president Rabindra Mishra. Given the ground situation, the thin margin of vote make difference between them.
Carrier politician and son of Ganesh Man Singh, NC leader Prakash Man Singh has been spending his entire time attending the canvass.
At a time when most of the young candidates from different parties are demanding to transfer the leadership to the younger generation, the old leader Deuba, Prachanda and Oli have been proving that they don’t have any competitors and no other leaders to challenge their acceptance.
Among the second-generation leaders, Nepali Congress leader Udaya Sumsher Rana, Pampha Bhusal, UML-Us leader Ram Kumari Jhankri, Chandra Bhandari, RPP leader Dhabal Sumsher Rana, NC leader Bishwo Prakash Sharma are facing tough completion.
CPN-UML leaders Ishwor Pokharel, and Shanker Pokharel have a tough fight in their own constituencies. Nepali Congress young leader Mohan Bahadur Basnet and Ramhari Dungel are ahead in their constituencies.
At a time when social media is full of comments on Rabi Lamichhane and some candidates of his Independent party, his personality built through the media can support him to win. However, his other candidates are yet to prove themselves as stronger.
Whether one likes it or not, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML Maoist Center and RPP are four parties to have nationwide presence. Although former RPP leader Kamal Thapa is contesting the elections under the CPN-UML’s sun symbol, NC candidate Dina Upadhyaya is proving tough.