Kathmandu: The delegates of Nepal’s largest democratic party, the Nepali Congress, are set to vote for a second time on Tuesday to elect the party president after none of the five candidates, including Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, could secure more than 50 per cent of the total votes cast.

Out of a total 4,743 eligible voters, 4,679 valid votes were cast and 76 ballots were declared invalid in the election held on Monday.

Voters will now choose between prime minister and incumbent President of Nepali Congress Deuba and Shekhar Koirala, who secured 2,258 and 1,702 votes, respectively, according to the Central Election Committee.

Deuba secured the first position in the party’s election, but could not win the presidential election as the votes he secured were less than 50 per cent of the total votes cast during the 14th general convention of the party.

Similarly, Prakash Man Singh secured 371 votes and Bimalendra Nidhi secured 250 votes, respectively. The fifth candidate Kalyan Gurung obtained 22 votes. For a candidate to win, he should have secured 2,340 votes.

The second phase of voting will take place in the afternoon on Tuesday, party sources said.

They said Singh and Nidhi, who had earlier contested for the post of president, have now extended their support to Deuba.

With their support, Deuba is most likely to be elected to the post of president by Tuesday evening, they said.

While Deuba needs less than 100 votes, Koirala needs over 500 votes. For Koirala to win, both Singh and Nidhi (and their voters) need to support him.

Some senior Congress leaders said that Koirala has already reached out to both Singh and Nidhi while the Central Election Committee has started preparations to conduct the second round of elections, The Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.

On the other hand, Deuba also sent his close ally Bal Krishna Khand to meet with Singh, the report said, citing party insiders. Deuba fell short of 82 votes to win the contest.

The grand old party is electing 13 office bearers president, two vice presidents, two general secretaries, eight joint general secretaries and 121 Central Working Committee members.

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