Kathmandu: As campaigning intensifies in poll-bound Nepal, major political parties Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have made claims and counter-claims about who will emerge as the victor in November 19 Constituent Assembly elections.
Nepali Congress "will either win a simple majority or emerge as the largest party in the Constituent Assembly elections", party general secretary Prakash Man Singh, who is contesting polls from Kathmandu 1 constituency said while talking to select Indian mediapersons at his residence here.
"It is necessary for the people to give clear victory to a democratic party for drafting a fully democratic constitution," he said.
"Nepali Congress stands for democracy, nationalism and religious freedom since its inception," he said and cautioned the voters against those political parties that are making religion a major election agenda to woo the voters.
Singh was pointing towards Kamal Thapa-led pro-monarchist Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal, which is campaigning for reinstating Nepal as a Hindu state and restoring constitutional monarchy in the country.
"Though we stress on drafting the constitution after completing the election, we are also focusing on development and construction works as second priority to address the aspirations of the voters," he said.
Slamming the UCPN-Maoist, Singh said, "Though the Maoist party had signed many agreements in the past to show their support to the principles of democracy, the party is not committed to the pluralistic democratic principle by action."
Ishwor Pokharel, general secretary of CPN-UML, who is contesting election from Kathmandu 5 Constituency, also claimed that his party would emerge as the largest party in the forthcoming Constituent Assembly elections.
"We will emerge as the largest party in the CA elections," he said while launching door-to-door campaign in the constituency.
The UML was the third largest party in the 601-member first Constituent Assembly.
"We are committed to drafting the constitution within a year and after that we will focus on socio-economic transformation of Nepal.
"We are fighting for social justice and economic prosperity," Pokharel said.
Responding to a question, he said "the CPN-Maoist, the breakaway faction of the UCPN-Maoist, has no right to foil the November polls, though the party can peacefully canvass for people to boycott the elections."
"We are open to all options to accommodate the CPN-Maoist led by Mohan Vaidya after the elections are over. We are ready to address their political concerns and for that we will amend the constitution if necessary," Pokharel said.
As the UCPN-Maoist is contesting the elections by laying down their arms this time, it would be difficult for the Maoist party to maintain their position as the largest party, say political analysts.
Since the Maoist party, which emerged as the largest party in the first Constituent Assembly elections, has now split into two factions, it will be very difficult for the party to make up its position.
It has to be seen, who will benefit, either Nepali Congress or the CPN-UML from the division in the UCPN-Maoist.
UCPN-Maoist chairman and former premier Prachanda is contesting from Kathmandu 10 and Siraha in southern Nepal. In the previous Constituent Assembly polls, he won from two seats in Kathmandu and Rolpa.
Prachanda launched his party`s Mechi-Mahakali (East-West) national awareness campaign in Kakadvitta on Wednesday and said the chances of drafting a new constitution will be high if his party wins a majority.
He also claimed the UCPN-Moist will bring about a drastic change in Nepal if it gets a majority.
During a week-long campaign, Prachanda, his deputy Baburam Bhattarai and other party leaders will address gatherings in some 50 places across Nepal.