Parties finding it tough to pick candidates for Province 2 polls

Published On: August 28, 2017 07:33 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, August 28: Candidate selection for the upcoming Province 2 civic polls is proving tough, even messy, for most political parties with multiple factions jostling to secure their candidacies for the historic polls. 

 A total of 136 local units of Province 2 are slated to go to elections on September 18. 

Most of the parties including the Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist Center) and CPN-UML have authorized the lower bodies to prepare their lists of candidates. The lists will be further sanctioned by senior Madhesi leaders of each party before being endorsed by the central leadership. 

Only few district committees of the major parties have managed to pick their candidates so far. UML, for instance, has decided to field Basurdin Ansari and Sophia Acharya as its mayoral and deputy mayoral candidates for Birgunj Metropolitan City. The party has also finalized candidates for various other rural municipalities and municipalities.

UML insiders said that candidate selection in Janakpur has been affected due to a tussle between factions close to Raghubir Mahashet and Satrudhan Mahato.

NC and Maoist Center are facing even bigger hurdles in candidate selections due to the rivalry among Madhesi leaders to provide tickets to their loyalists. Province 2 is home to several influential leaders including acting NC President Bimalendra Nidhi, Treasurer Sita Devi Yadav and Chitralekha Yadav. 

Many NC leaders have criticized the party leadership for failing to keep the candidate selection process transparent and inclusive. In a Facebook post, NC leader Shekhar Koirala expressed dissatisfaction against the party leadership for excluding the party’s senior leaders like Ram Chandra Poudel, Kul Bahadur Gurung, Khum Bahadur Khadka and Krishna Sitaula from the candidate selection. He accused the party leadership of making separate criteria for candidates’ selection in Province 2. After initially choosing NC General Secretray Shashank Koirala and Nidhi for the selection of poll candidates, NC leadership had transferred the duty to the central committee members. 

“Why did the party choose a separate ticket distribution process in Province 2 after following the same process in rest of the six provinces?” questioned Koirala. 

Intense lobbying from top Madhesi leaders including Matrika Yadav, Prabhu Sha and Umesh Yadav to provide tickets to their loyalists have also created serious problems in the Maoist Center. 

“Names are coming from various districts. The party would take a final call,” said Maoist Center Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal. The Maoist Center is preparing to make the name public on the eve of the candidacy nomination process in order to avoid disputes on the ground. 

The Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN), which was formed after a merger among six Madhes-based parties, is seeing a bitter infighting among leaders affiliated to various factions.

Two days after the party announced to participate in the polls, a meeting that was expected to finalize the party’s mayoral candidate for Birgunj Metropolitan City ended in a clash between two groups vying for the mayoral ticket. RJPN leaders said that the party is facing a deep fracture on the ground even before the selection process.  


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