NEPALGUNJ, May 9: Dozens of leaders from Nepali Congress (NC) were willing to contest for the mayoral post of Chaurjahari Municipality of Rukum district. But the party gave ticket to Balbir Gosain, a lesser-known retired bank official. Gosain, who retired as officer of Nepal Bank Limited just a month before getting the election ticket, sidelined local Congress leaders of the district.
“He is financially strong and he had good relations with the party's district chief, which made it easier for him to get the candidacy,” said a Congress cadre seeking anonymity. He complained that parties in the district are choosing economically sound candidates who can invest in the poll campaign rather than the ones with greater political contribution.
Gosain is not an exception to get candidacy by sidelining genuine party cadres in Provinc-6. There are many fortunate people like him who have spent half of their lives in other profession and now have decided to join politics. The case of Ganesh Bahadur Shahi of Dolpa, Thuli Bheri is no different.
Shahi, a popular businessman in Dolpa, sidelined many local leaders in the fray of candidacy selection. It has been found that the most dedicated party cadres are sidelined from contesting the elections just because of monetary reason.
Nanda Singh Budha, district secretary of CPN-UML and Nar Bahadur Budha, former chairperson as well as the current secretariat member of the party, were the tough competitors of Shahi.
“We were a lot better than him in terms of everything but the party trusted him. And being a member of the same party we are obliged to welcome its decision,” said Budha.
Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) gave ticket for the mayoral post of Khadachakra Municipality of Kalikot to Surya Bahadur Shahi, who is the current district chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. As informed by a district leader of RPP, the major reason behind choosing Shahi as the candidate is because he can afford the expenses of local elections.
Similarly in Jajarkot, the Nepali Congress has adopted the same method for selecting candidates.
According to sources, district chairperson of NC Deepak Jung Shahi had even asked for money with the candidate for the construction of the party's building. Some of the older and genuine cadres had to lose ticket after being unable to manage money for the building.
It has not even been a decade that Ratna Bahadur Khadka entered into politics but he succeeded to persuade his party, the NC, for a ticket to contest for the post of mayor of Chedgad Municipality. There were so many cadres of the party who were waiting for the ticket since 19 years but unfortunately they were disappointed this time also.
“One should at first earn a lot of money to enter politics since it has been a game of money in the recent days,” said one of the cadres of the NC requesting anonymity.
Likewise, CPN (Maoist-Center) has also given priority to prosperous candidates. Pramod Shrestha, who has been nominated for the post of mayor in Sharada Municipality of Salyan, had joined the Maoist party during the end of the decade-long insurgency. In recent days, he was more involved in land business rather than politics.
Similarly, two popular hotel owners have also entered politics. CPN (Maoist-Center) has provided ticket to Ashok Shrestha of Shrestha Hotel of Chandannath Municipality of Jumla to contest for the post of mayoral. “Political contribution stands nowhere in front of money and this has been proved in this election,” said a former Maoist combatant requesting anonymity. Likewise, the owner of Asian Hotel of Rukum, Mahendra KC has also grabbed the party's ticket by sidelining many genuine candidates.
As per the locals, the parties are choosing candidates on the basis of their financial ability rather than their capability to change the development scenario of the district.
“Parties at this time are assuming that the candidate with sound economic background can win the elections anyhow,” said Kamal Raj Lamsal, a political analyst, adding, “Corruption will be pervasive if such candidates get elected.”