After winning the local elections, the 46-year-old Renu Dahal of the CPN-Maoist Centre is now beginning her second term as the mayor of the Bharatpur metropolitan city.
Dahal won the elections with 52,030 votes defeating her opponent Bijay Subedi of CPN- UML who got 39,581 votes. Here are some pointers that you need to know to know her better.
1. Family background
Renu Dahal is the second eldest daughter of party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Sita Dahal. Active in and during the People’s War, she has been an active and popular political figure. Education-wise, she is just a secondary school graduate.
2. Height of political career
Other than being active in wartime, Renu Dahal was a member of the Constituent Assembly from 2008 to 2012. In the second CA elections (2013), she became the candidate in Kathmandu’s constituency 1 but lost to Prakash Man Singh of the Nepali Congress.
She has been a member of the party’s politburo and the general secretary of the All Nepal Women’s Association (Revolutionary).
3. Controversial beginning as a mayor
In 2017, Renu Dahal won the mayorship with 43,127 votes against Devi Prasad Gyawali of the UML, who got 42,924 votes. However, her victory was excessively controversial.
Reportedly, some ballot papers were torn when the then Chief Election Officer Kabi Prasad Neupane went to the toilet while the votes were being counted. After that, the then UML mayoral candidate Gyawali claimed that the ballot papers were torn in a planned manner after the Maoists were sure to lose.
There was a dispute in the counting of votes stating that the ink of the swastika on the ballot paper was smeared more and was to be null and void. But, the case reached the court through the Election Commission. After that, it was ordered that there would be re-election in ward 19 of the Bharatpur metropolis. Renu Dahal won the election by 203 votes.
4. A successful term
Notwithstanding the controversial beginning of the term, Renu Dahal’s mayorship is viewed as a success.
Widely portrayed as Dahal’s daughter, she says she has become a separate personality after becoming the mayor. As a woman mayor who completed her five-year term successfully, she sent a strong message that she can lead and is a strong political figure for development works.
Though reelected, she once expressed that she did not want to run for the mayor again. For her, advancing politically either by being a member of parliament or a minister would not have been a big deal. But in Bharatpur, she felt working at the local level is challenging, and wanted to face the challenge.
Reportedly, there have been fewer cases of irregularity or corruption in the metropolis, so she has created a situation where no one can question her leadership. The arrears of the metropolis is also less than the others.
5. Progressive popularity
This time, however, no substantial controversy was reported in Bharatpur as security arrangements were also tightened. On the other hand, she also multiplied the difference with her closest rival this time.
This time also, Renu Dahal was supported by the Nepali Congress. However, a popular leader of the party in Bharatpur, Jagannath Paudel, had filed his candidacy independently. It was feared that Paudel’s candidacy could block Dahal from regaining mayorship. But, as the results came out, Dahal proved she deserved to be the mayor as Paudel was restricted to just 14,728 votes whereas Dahal received 52,030 votes.