Amid a lot of skepticism and threat of violence by a political outfit, Nepal has held one of the fairest polls in the history. The vote count is now midway and a definite trend is visible.
After a decade of de facto abdication of the long-held prominence in mainstream politics in favor of first the monarchy and then the 'left', the center-right party Nepali Congress is poised to make sweeping gains in the polls.
The possible explanations for the results can be following:
1) Maoists, the ex-rebels and the largest party from the last CA polls 5 years back, used up their political capital, rather bartered it for monetary gains of the leaders, thereby drawing ire of every voter, educated or otherwise. Their utter contempt for the rule of law alienated a further section of society. Their over-confidence and loss of touch with reality made them unable to see the obvious.
2) People were fed up of every political power in the country for both their utter ineptitude and evil political deeds but NC appears to have the advantage of being least evil among the three. Be it enforcing very unpopular Bandhs to organizing goons and legitimizing their activities (as I have written here in much detail), NC president's policy to stay away from them appears to pay off quite well.
3) While the NC and UML had each suffered a split more than a decade ago, the Maoists suffered it quite recently and it was too early for the wound to to heal. But it is obvious that the split factor is a very minor one in face of the misgovernance spree of the party while in power.
4) The endless divisions among the regional parties in Madhesh directly favored the larger parties. Moreover, the chipping away of the voter bases of NC and UML by newly formed political parties was not as significant as expected.
This is the part of the scenario that is easily visible for everyone to see. However, there are less easily visible but more important long term trends related to the question of large scale social alignments of people from various communities that have emerged. They are likely to impact the future of the country in the longer term. I shall deal with them in much details for some international media outlet after all the dust settles in Kathmandu. Till that time, let's keep our fingers crossed for the final tally of the results.