KATHMANDU, Nov 11: The Election Commission (EC) on Sunday made public the final list of leaders contesting the parliamentary and provincial assembly by-polls slated for November 30.
The Election Commission is holding the by-election for a seat in the House of Representatives from Kaski-2 and three seats for the provincial assembly in Baglung, Bhaktapur and Dang.
“An independent candidate contesting for a seat in the federal parliament from Kaski has withdrawn his candidacy. Thus, a total of 64 candidates are contesting for four seats--one for the federal parliament and three for provincial assembly,” said EC's Spokesperson Raj Kumar Shrestha.
The Election Commission will offer election symbols for both party-affiliated and independent candidates on Monday.
Even though the EC conducted all three sets of elections- federal, provincial and local—in 2017, some of the candidates died in accidents or due to diseases forcing the election body to hold the by-polls.
In Kaski, the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Bidya Bhattarai filed her candidacy whereas the main opposition Nepali Congress has fielded Khemraj Poudel.
Poudel is a veteran Nepali Congress leader. Bhattarai is the widow of late tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari. An independent candidate Purushotam Khanal withdrew his candidacy.
The seat was lying vacant after the then tourism minister Adhikari, who was elected from Kaski-2 died in a helicopter crash in Taplejung in February.
Political observers expect a stiff competition between candidates of the ruling and the main opposition parties even though more than two dozens of candidates will be contesting for the elections from Kaski-2.
In Baglung, 10 candidates--eight from various political parties and two independent candidates—are contesting for a provincial assembly seat. The seat is lying vacant after Tek Bahadur Gharti, who was elected from Baglung 2(B), died.
The ruling NCP and Rastriya Janamorcha have decided to support Janamorcha's candidate. Rastriya Janamorcha has fielded Khim Bikram Shahi based on agreement reached between the two parties.
NCP leader Sherman Gharti, who had filed his candidacy against the party's decision, has agreed to withdraw his candidacy at the last moment. But he failed to officially withdraw his candidacy as his chartered helicopter couldn't land at the election office within the deadline.
Although he failed to withdraw his candidacy, leader Gharti issued a statement appealing his supporters to vote for Shahi. He has made it clear that he is no longer in race of provincial assembly member.
In Dang 3 (B), 14 candidates are contesting for a provincial assembly seat that was left vacant after the death of Uttar Kumar Oli in a road accident in February.
The ruling NCP has fielded Oli's widow Bimala in the constituency whereas Nepali Congress has fielded Keshav Sharma Acharya. Stiff completion is expected between the ruling and opposition parties although 14 candidates including two independent candidates are in the election fray.
In Bhaktapur 1(A), 19 candidates—9 from political parties and 10 independent -- are contesting for the provincial assembly seat. The seat has been lying vacant after the death of Harisharan Lamichhane, who was elected in 2017.
Nepali Congress has fielded Krishna Lal Bhadel from the constituency whereas DP Dhakal is contesting from NCP. Nepal Peasants and Workers Party has fielded Niraj Lawaju.