April 5, 2017 08:25 AM NPT
By: Ashok Dahal
KATHMANDU, April 5: With the new constitution granting more power to the local level, some central leaders of the major political parties have started eying mayoral posts.
Even former ministers and incumbent and former lawmakers have been lobbying for party ticket for mayor in metropolitan cities, sub metropolitan cities and some municipalities as well.
According to party interlocutors, leaderships of the major political parties are also persuading some popular leaders for contesting in key metro cities or municipalities hoping to ensure victory in the powerful local bodies.
Though the major political parties have not formally started discussions on the list of candidates for the local polls scheduled for May 14, informal discussions among party leaders and lobbying for party ticket has started in all political parties.
The two largest political parties, Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML, have been planning to field influential leaders in the Kathmandu Metropolitan City as both parties expect a stiff competition for the mayor of the capital city.
Industry Minister Nabindra Raj Joshi and lawmaker Bhimsen Das Pradhan are being tipped as the possible candidate for the post of mayor of the capital city. CPN-UML is also planning to project a senior leader in the capital city. Former Minister Krishna Gopal Shrestha and leader Jeevan Prem Shrestha are also vying for Kathmandu mayor. Although some party leaders have proposed party secretary Yogesh Bhattarai as the mayoral candidate in Kathmandu, Bhattarai himself has not said anything about his candidacy so far.
Former General Administration Minister and UML leader Lal Babu Pandit has been planning to contest for the mayor of Biratnagar sub-metropolitan city where NC is said to have been planning to field the party's central committee member and women leader Dila Sangroula as mayor.
CPN-UML Secretary Pradeep Gyawali said that the party plans to field central leaders in the local elections for two reasons. “First, our local committees are for electing central leaders at the local level given the crucial role they have to play in their places and secondly, we have also given priority because local units are the foundation of the federal system,” Gyawali told Republica.
The third largest party CPN (Maoist Center) has been mulling to field senior leaders in Lalitpur and Bharatpur metropolitan cities. Former minister and party spokesperson Pampha Bhusal is likely to contest fore the mayor of Lalitpur metropolitan city, according to party leaders. Likewise the party has almost finalized the name of former lawmaker Renu Dahal as the mayoral candidate for Bharatpur metropolitan city.
The fourth largest political party in parliament, Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) has almost finalized the names of some party office bearers as the candidates at the local level. The party's general secretary Dhawal Shamser Rana is likely to contest from Nepalgunj, joint general secretary Ratna Thapa from Damak and assistant general secretary Manoj Pradhan from Sharada municipality of Salyan. Likewise, either lawmaker Ganesh Thapa or leader Dipak Singh is likely to contest from Hetauda municipality.