Thapa maintains lead, Sharma follows in Congress general secretary race

Thapa maintains lead, Sharma follows in Congress general secretary race

Gagan Thapa has maintained lead while Bishwa Prakash Sharma is running second in the vote counting for the Nepali Congress general secretary post, as of Thursday afternoon, when half of the ballots were counted.

Thapa, 46, is contesting from the anti-establishment faction while Sharma, 50, represents the Prakash Man Singh group.

The Singh group, however, threw its weight behind Sher Bahadur Deuba during the runoff to reelect the incumbent president for the next four years. Sharma had decided to contest from the Singh faction after he could not find a place in the camp led by Deuba, who decided to field Pradip Paudel and Prakash Sharan Mahat for the general secretary posts.

Paudel, 44, represents the Krishna Prasad Sitaula camp.

According to the party’s election committees, out of 2,520 votes counted till Thursday afternoon, Thapa had secured 1,648 votes and Sharma 1,920.

Mahat was trailing with 827 votes followed by Paudel with 746 votes.

Minendra Rijal, 64, who is contesting from the anti-establishment faction along with Thapa, was in the fifth place, while Rajaram Karki, was running last with 64 votes.

Meanwhile, Rijal has conceded defeat and decided to resign as the minister for defence.

“In view of the message that has become apparent from the preliminary results of the counting for the post of general secretary, for which I am contesting, I have decided to step down as the minister for defense,” Rijal tweeted on Friday afternoon.

Rijal was appointed Defense Minister on October 8.

Rijal told the Post that he decided to step down on moral grounds.

“I will formally announce my resignation through a press conference later in the day,” said Rijal. “Once the final results are out, I will tender my resignation to the prime minister.”

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