POKHARA, Oct 8: Many in Province 4 had predicted that the main opposition CPN-UML would field its youth leader Rabindra Adhikari, the president of parliament's Development Committee, in the provincial assembly elections, projecting him as the party's candidate for the post of chief minister of the province. The party, however, has chosen to field him in the parliamentary elections from Kaski constituency no. 2.
Adhikari has already established himself as an influential leader of the region. But his party has decided to field him as a candidate for the parliamentary elections instead of projecting him as the chief minister candidate for Province 4. UML has instead fielded the party's Standing Committee member and provincial coordinator Kiran Gurung as a candidate for provincial assembly polls from Tanahu of Province 4. Similarly, the party's joint-coordinator Ganesh Timilsina has been recommended for provincial elections. UML leaders say both Gurung and Timilsina are considered the probable faces for chief minister from the UML party although Tej Narayan Adhikari, the party's Publicity Department chief, says the party is yet to decide its chief minister candidate.
UML's Publicity Department chief Adhikari, however, says the senior-most leader contesting the provincial assembly elections will be named as the party's chief minister candidate. According to him, among the recommended candidates, Gurung is said to be the most likely candidate for the chief minister post. But the party is yet to decide on Gurung's name as its chief minister candidate. "It will take a few more days to take the final decision," said Adhikari.
The recently announced left alliance is also one of the major reasons behind the delay in publicizing the nominees' list. According to UML leaders, the alliance will have a great influence on the decision. "We did our job. Now it's up to the party headquarters," said Adhikari.
Like the UML, the CPN (Maoist Centre), too, has not revealed the name of its candidate for the post of chief minister. Bishwa Prakash Lamichhane, a central member of the Maoist Centre, says the candidates will be fielded based on the decision made by the left alliance.
For the parliamentary elections in Kaski district, the CPN (Maoist Centre) has recommended the names of Dev Gurung for constituency no.1, Ramkaji Gurung for constituency no. 2 and Ramji Baral for constituency no. 3. Similarly, efforts are being made to convince the party's chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal to contest the parliamentary polls from Kaski. "Party members have proposed that Chairman Dahal contest the parliamentary polls from Kaski-3, which is also his birthplace," said Lamichhane, adding, "But it's not the final decision."
Though the Nepali Congress (NC) has not given ticket to any of the aspirants, Mahadev Gurung and Shukraraj Sharma are seen as the most probable candidates for the post of chief minister of Province 4. According to district leaders of NC, Sharma who has a strong political background is likely to be one of the candidates for the chief post. Likewise, Gurung is also a well-known leader and is popular among the locals.
The number of aspirants for the post of chief minister is high this time which had made it difficult for the parties to pick their candidates. "As of now, we are in the wait-and-watch mode," said Nabin Sigdel, district member of NC, adding, "We will first see how other parties select their candidates. We will pick our candidate after that.”