Kathmandu, May 14 (PTI) Balen Shah, a popular rap singer who is contesting in the Kathmandu mayoral election as an independent candidate, was leading the race for the key position as vote counting started on Saturday.

Shah has been leading with 404 votes out of a total 1,280 votes counted so far.

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Keshav Sthapit of Opposition Communist Party of Nepal- Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and Sirjana Singh of ruling Nepali Congress are behind him with 365 and 231 votes respectively, sources from the Election Commission said.

Shah, 32, is a popular rap singer as well as an engineer by profession, who has won support among the youths.

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However, many more votes remain to be counted.

Kathmandu Metropolis witnessed 1,91,186 votes during Friday's local level elections.

Kathmandu's Mayor candidate's election result is likely to be announced only on Sunday.

Nepal held local elections on Friday across the country in a single phase.

According to Tulasi Bahadur Shrestha, joint secretary of the Election Commission, counting has already started in most of the local units by now.

The election officials are also preparing to count votes of Lalitpur Metropolitan City and Bharatpur Metropolitan City. In Lalitpur, the alliance has fielded Chiribabu Maharjan of the Nepali Congress while the UML has fielded Hari Krishna Byanjankar for the mayoral post, The Kathmandu Post reported.

In Bharatpur, Renu Dahal of the Maoist Centre, Bijay Subedi of the UML and Jagannath Poudel as an independent candidate are contesting for the mayoral position.

Vote counting in Biratnagar Metropolitan City also has started.

The Election Commission has said voting was stalled in 77 booths of 43 polling stations of 28 local units in 16 districts for various reasons and elections will be held there soon.

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