KATHMANDU, April 6: With the much-awaited local polls now just 38 days away, leaders of big political parties in the hilly districts of Koshi have intensified their efforts to win candidacies from their respective parties.
Intra-party competition to win candidacies for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor is especially high in the big parties, including Nepal Congress (NC), CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Center), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal (SSFN).
Dhankuta, Bhojpur, Sankhuwasabha and Terhathum districts have about a dozen aspiring candidates in each of the major parities. The fight for candidacies is intense in each of the 12 municipalities of Koshi's hilly districts.
Among the local units in the Koshi hills, Dhankuta Municipality has the highest number of voters of 18,160. Nabin Kishor Shakya, Dinesh Rai and Roshan Shrestha are fighting for the candidacy of mayor from NC while Ambika Rai, Jyoti Pradhan, Sabitra Shrestha Rai, Rebika Baral, Ambika Pariyar and Renu Shrestha are popular names for the candidacy of deputy mayor from NC. “Our candidates will be from among them,” Bijaya Santoshi Rai, secretary of NC Dhankuta chapter, informed Republica.
From UML, Chintan Tamang, Arjun Kumar Rai, Narendra Pokhrel, Umesh Ghimire and Arjun Chara are said to be in the race for mayoral candidacy in the municipality.
Sakuntala Basnet, Ghum Maya Rai and Gita Adhikari are said to be vying for the candidacy of deputy mayor from the party. On the other hand, Maoist Center has Ganesh Bista, Sitaram Shrestha and Dambar Subba as aspiring candidates for mayoral post.
The intra-party competition is also intense in Phakribas Municipality and Mahalaxmi Municipality, which have 13,982 and 15,855 voters respectively.
Bhojpur, Terhathum and Sankhuwasabha districts have also seen intense competition among leaders to win candidacies of their respective parities. Bhojpur Municipality and Shadanand Municipality of Bhojpur district, which have 15,486 and 18,051 voters respectively, have seen competition among the three major parties. In the previous local elections, UML had emerged victorious in all local bodies of the district except 4 VDCs.
None of the big parties have declared their candidates for the elections slated for May 14. Maoist District Coordinator Rajesh Khatiwada said they will initiate the process to elect their party's candidates only after April 6. “We are yet to hold discussions on who will be selected as our party's candidates,” he informed.
RPP is giving a tough fight to the three dominant parties. They are also preparing to field candidacies in both the municipalities of the district, according to Dhirendra Shrestha, chairman of the district chapter of the party.
(Siddharaj Rai from Dhankuta, Bhagishwar Limbu from Terhathum and Akson Rai from Bhojpur contributed to this report)