Yadav, Pun in VP race

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Dayaram Kandel of Pariwar Dal and independent lawmaker Attahar Kamal Musalman withdraw their candidacies

Oct 31, 2015-Nepali Congress lawmaker Amiya Kumar Yadav and Maoist leader Nanda Bahadur Pun [Nanda Kishor Pun] are contesting in the Vice President election scheduled for Saturday.

Based on a power-sharing arrangement among the ruling partners after promulgation of the new constitution, the CPN-UML-led coalition fielded Pun while Yadav is running for the largest party in opposition.

Pun is likely to win the race. The Madhes-based parties, which earlier supported the NC in the PM election, have refused to participate in the Saturday vote. Candidates fielded by the ruling parties have won almost all the key state positions--President, prime minister, Speaker and deputy Speaker.

Dayaram Kandel of Nepal Pariwar Dal and independent lawmaker Attahar Kamal Musalman withdrew their candidacies for the deputy head of state position later. Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had requested Kandel to support Pun instead while independent lawmaker Musalman agreed to NC Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel’s call to vote for the NC candidate.

Pun’s nomination was proposed by UML senior leader Jhala Nath Khanal and seconded by Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal Chief Whip Dilnath Giri. NC Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha proposed Yadav’s candidacy, which was seconded by party Whip Ishwori Neupane.

“Among the four candidates, two have withdrawn from the race. Now only two candidates from the ruling and opposition parties are contesting the election,” said Sudarshan Kuinkel, assistant spokesperson for the Legislature-Parliament Secretariat.

Yadav said his candidacy was for promoting harmony among the people in the Hills, Mountains and the Tarai. “My candidacy is for national unity and communal harmony,” said Yadav. He represents the Madhesi community.

Pun, a commander of the disbanded People’s Liberation Army, had contested the second CA polls from Kathmandu-4 but was defeated by Gagan Thapa of the NC. Pun, who hails from the Maoist heartland Rolpa, led several battles against the state security agencies during the Maoist insurgency.

“My candidacy is for safeguarding the new constitution and national unity,” said Pun. The coalition partners fielded Pun at the last moment after smaller parties in government demanded a candidate from the Tharu or Madhesi communities.

In Friday’s meeting, smaller parties including the CP Mainali-led CPN-ML stood for electing someone from the Madhes or among the Tharus as the VP citing the election of Maoist leader Onsari Gharti, who is from the community as Pun.

Prime Minister Oli, however, backed Pun after the Maoist Standing Committee refused to seek his replacement. “With the PM and Prachanda [Maoist chairman] agreeing to field Pasang, smaller parties agreed to vote for the coalition candidate despite their reservations,” said PM’s Press Advisor Pramod Dahal.

Voting will start on the Parliament premises at 11:00am on Saturday. The Parliament Secretariat plans to announce the result at 5:30pm.

Published: 31-10-2015 08:17

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