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Interview

I have a 4,000-vote lead over UML in Ilam-2: Dambar Khadka (interview)

Sagar Neupane

Sagar Neupane

 |  Kathmandu

Nepali Congress leader Dambar Khadka. (Photo: Saroj Baizu)

Main opposition Nepali Congress has fielded Dambar Khadka as a candidate in the Ilam Constituency 2 by-elections to be held on April 27.

He is the president of the Nepali Congress Ilam District Working Committee. Khadka managed to get the ticket leaving behind all other six candidates recommended for the by-elections.

Khadka, 50, will contend the elections along with Suhang Nembang, the son of late UML leader Subas Nembang, representing the UML. Similarly, Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) has fielded Milan Limbu while pro-identity groups have fielded Dakendra Singh Thegim.

Against this backdrop, Nepalkhabar talked to leader Khadka. Excerpts: 

You were defeated by a margin of 114 votes in the election held on November 20, 2022, now you got a ticket again. What is the current situation of Ilam-2?
I am living in Ilam and have been doing social service for two decades. There, I have received dozens of honors for social service from schools, organizations, and religious temples and monasteries.

I have been with the poor, the sick, and helpless citizens during natural disasters including COVID-19. Since the last election, I have been continuously connected with the people.

Therefore, the work I have done so far is evaluated this time. In the past, I contested the election with a personality with the national image, now there is no respectable person like him.

Will the people of Ilam-2 sweep Dumbar Khadka to power?
They voted for me in the previous elections, too, when I contested elections with a dignified personality (Subas Nembng) with a national image. I am confident that once again the people of Ilam -2 will allow me to serve.

At that time you were supported by the CPN (Maoist Center) and the CPN (Unified Socialist). This time the Nepali Congress is contesting the election alone, that too against an alliance including the UML.

Now the voters of Ilam are highly educated. They will go for what kind of person Ilam needs rather than the alliance. I am confident that they will choose those who are familiar with that soil, the trails, and the neighborhood and those who can deliver their promises, and bridge the local with the center when it comes to allocating a budget for the infrastructure development.

Will all the leaders including Gagan, Bishwa Prakash, Shekhar Koirala reach Ilam 2 and heat the atmosphere?
Absolutely. I am not only close to the people of Ilam. I am also close to the leaders I need. I am receiving favor from Gagan Thapaji, respected Bishwa Prakash dai, Bhishma dai. I was given the ticket with their joint consent. It was not given by a unilateral decision of the President. As the parliamentary board and office bearers met and gave the ticket unanimously, all the leaders of the party parties will go to Ilam-2 to support me.

Will the NC win the elections in Ilam-2 where the UML has been winning since 1999 (25 years)?
After 25 years, we have managed to win by two-thirds in Ilam Municipality and Chulachuli Municipality. We have won in a total of 22 wards, adding those wards we have 36 thousand votes now. UML has 32 thousand votes. We are ahead by 4000 votes in the constituency.

Votes will also decrease due to the influence of pro-identify candidates!
I am always in favor of identity. Identity is our civilization. We are reveling in civilization. Therefore, the Nepali Congress should think about renaming this Koshi. I have got it endorsed by 14 NC district presidents of Koshi Province and submitted it before President Sher Bahadur Deuba that justice should be given to the friends who are fighting for identity.

That is why I have been speaking in favor of identity. I am holding a similar opinion within the party on renaming the province. Therefore, the Nepali Congress is also the one to solve this issue.

What about the blessing of religious leader Atmananda Lingden?
I have Guru's blessings. Because I am a devotee of Guru. I have also organized a felicitation program in honor of Atmanand Lingden Guru on behalf of the Congress.

Finally, you said earlier that the NC will break the 25-year-old winning streak of the UML. What is its strongest basis?
First, all the people of Ilam-2, religious leaders, intellectuals, etc., are in favor of me. Second, I have a plan, a vision, and the capability to solve the existing problem in the constituency. I have the energy to not only draw development plans from the central level to the province but also to work in the field alongside the people of Ilam-2.



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