Parties in race to pick poll candidates

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 28, 2017-Three weeks before the September 18 polls in Province 2, the parties are yet to choose their candidates for the local councils in the eight Tarai districts. All the major parties--Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal--are still in consultations to finalise their candidates. 

With a large number of leaders and cadres vying for different positions of the local governments, the parties are having a tough time selecting their candidates. However, both the ruling NC and Maoist Centre are set to choose the names by Tuesday.

The main opposition UML has said it would pick its candidates by the end of this week. UML leaders said the party’s Standing Committee will decide the names once party Chairman KP Sharma Oli returns from Bangkok. Oli is currently in Thailand for regular health check-up. 

According to NC leader and Minister for Labour and Employment Farmulla Mansur, the party has already received the names of 70 percent candidates. A large number of local leaders have claimed different positions in the local councils. The NC would finalise its candidates in Parsa and Dhanusha districts on Monday. NC leader Ramesh Rijal said the party would select the candidates by Tuesday after the lists of candidates reach the party headquarters.

The UML has said it has no hassles in announcing its candidates as the district committees have already prepared the lists of probable runners for metropolis and village council seats. Of the 136 local units, candidate recommendation has been over in 116 councils.

“The central committee will nominate the candidates for metropolitan and sub-metropolitan cities,” UML leader Bishnu Poudel told the Post. “A Standing Committee meeting will take a final decision.”

To sort some of the issues in the nominations and to discuss other broader issues related to the polls, top UML leaders including acting Chairman Bam Dev Gautam and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal reached Birgunj on Sunday. Nepal has been visiting several districts in the central Tarai since Friday. 

Maoist Centre coordinator for Province 2 Biswonath Sah said the party has already completed 75 percent of the selections. The rest would be completed by Tuesday. “The party will decide the candidates in the presence of Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Tuesday,” he said. 

The RJP-N has sent central observers to all the eight districts for candidate selection. They are trying to select candidates in consensus but if disputes arise the names would be picked by the party brass. Scuffles were reported in different parts of Madhes among the party supporters over candidate selection. Leader Brikhesh Chandra Lal said all the candidates would be selected by Wednesday.

NC leader Rijal said the party would forge electoral alliances with the Maoist Centre in the local federal units where the UML is stronger. He, however, said the chances of forging alliances with Madhes-based parties were slim.

With a strong showing in the two phases of local polls, the UML has centralised its efforts in Province 2, where the party has a supposedly “weaker” position. 

The party had mobilised a team led by General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel in the plains province. While Pokhrel led the team to Parsa, Deputy General Secretary Bishnu Poudel and Ghanashyam Bhusal reached Bara and Rautahat districts, respectively. The five secretaries Yogesh Bhattarai, Pradeep Gyawali, Gokarna Bista, Bhim Acharya and Prithvi Subba Gurung had toured Dhanusha, Siraha, Sarlahi, Saptari and Mahottari districts.

According to UML Secretary Bista, their assessment shows that the party is not weak as projected by other forces. The outcome of elections in other Tarai districts in the first two phases also indicated that the party holds firm ground in the region, he said. 

The Election Commission has scheduled candidate nomination for September 6. With NC President and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba returning from New Delhi on Sunday, NC leaders said the names would be decided from Monday. 

In Deuba’s absence, acting president Bimalendra Nidhi conducted district-wise discussions. Central members from Province 2, lawmakers and district chairpersons attended the deliberation.

Acting UML Chairman Gautam, senior leaders Shankar Pokharel, Ishwori Rijal, Rajendra Pandey, Raghubir Mahaseth and province in-charge Satya Narayan Mandal were busy with the party’s activities in Birgunj on Sunday.

 

95 parties listed for fed, state elections

KATHMANDU: As many as 95 political parties have applied to the Election Commission for participation in the upcoming provincial and federal parliamentary elections slated for November 26 as the deadline for registration expired on Sunday evening.

Major parties including the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, and the CPN (Maoist Centre) applied for registration submitting necessary documents including audit reports of the last fiscal year.

On Sunday, the NC, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party and the RPP (Prajatantrik) applied for contesting the polls, according to the EC.

The RPP (P) was listed as a separate party after the Supreme Court on August 21 issued an interim order to recognise its claim for the RPP’s central members and parliamentarians.

A total of 31 parties applied for registration on Sunday, according EC Spokesperson Surya Sharma. As many as 80 parties have been listed for the local elections.

The Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, which boycotted the first and second rounds of local elections, also applied for participation in the all the upcoming polls. However, all the parties registered for organisational purposes did not register for the polls. There are some 130 parties registered for organisational activities. (PR)

Published: 28-08-2017 07:25

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