Over 20 businessmen make it to parliament this election
December 3, 2022 11:15 AM NPT
By: Dilip Poudel
KATHMANDU, Dec 3: Now for becoming a parliamentarian, being active in the street movement, suffering jail time, giving up personal interests, but also achieving success in their professional field has become a qualification of politicians. Industrialists and businessmen are getting the opportunity to become MPs as a result of the success they achieved in their businesses. They are elected not only under the Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system but also under the First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system. More than 20 industrialists and businessmen have been elected to Parliament in the general elections held on November 20.
In the past, those who became members of parliament sitting on the proportional list have now reached the parliament through direct election. An example of that is industrialist Binod Chaudhary. He became a Member of Parliament (MP) twice from the PR electoral system and this time he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives through the FPTP electoral system. Billionaire Chaudhary, who is Chairman of Chaudhary Group, won the election from Nawalparasi.
Parliament is a policy-making forum. There are concerns that a conflict of interest will be at play when businessmen are part of the policy-making process. However, they have come to parliament after fighting direct elections and being approved by the people.
The number of politicians with a professional background is increasing in every election. Although they were elected under the PR electoral system in the past, many businessmen reached the parliament by contesting direct elections in the recently-held parliamentary election. They have won tickets from Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, CPN-Maoist Center, CPN (Unified Socialist), Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP).
Most of the industrialists and businessmen, who contested elections from the Nepali Congress (NC), have become members of the House of Representatives. Tourism entrepreneur Rajendra Bajgain has scheduled a parliamentary trip in his second attempt. He was defeated in the 2074 BS election and this year he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives on behalf of NC from Gorkha 1.
Medical practitioner Sunil Kumar Sharma was elected from Morang 3. Sharma, who is also NC leader, is the director of Nobel Medical Hospital in Biratnagar. Foreign employment entrepreneur Tek Bahadur Gurung has been elected from Manang.
Another tourism entrepreneur Yogesh Gauchan was elected from Mustang. Construction entrepreneur Kancharam Tamang won the election from Ramechhap. Tamang is the operator of a construction company. Crusher businessman Bishnu Kumar Karki has won from Nawalparasi 2. Gurung, Gauchan, Tamang, Karki contested the election with NC tickets. NC leader Deepak Khadka, elected from Sankhuwasabha 1, has investments in hydropower, construction and tourism. Tejulal Chaudhary, who was elected as a member of the House of Representatives from Saptari 4, is a businessman in the education sector. Chaudhary operates Nightingale School in Lalitpur. Umesh Shrestha, who contested from Chitwan 2 in the House of Representatives election, was defeated. Shrestha was defeated by Ravi Lamichhane, chairman of Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP).
The businesspersons have been elected not only from the NC but also from other parties. Elected from Jhapa-4 as CPN-UML candidate, Lal Prasad Sanwa Limbu is a manpower businessman. UML's Basant Kumar Nemwang, who has been elected as a member of House of Representatives(HoR) from Panchthar, is a hydropower investor.
Similarly, businessman Krishna Kumar Shrestha (Kisan), who defeated NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel from Tanahun in the previous election, has been elected as an MP again. Shrestha won from Bara-4 with the help of an alliance as an CPN (Unified Socialist) candidate. Similarly, Doti's Prem Ale and Dolpa's Dhan Bahadur Budha have also been elected from CPN (Unified Socialist). They are also successful businessmen.
Businesspersons have been elected also from the newly-formed RSP have businessmen elected from their party. Shishir Khanal won on behalf of that party fromKathmandu-6. Khanal is the founder of logistics service provider Pick and Drop'.
Construction entrepreneur Bikram Pandey, who is the owner of Kalika Construction, has won from Chitwan-3. He contested the election as RPP candidate. Birendra Mahato, who won the election from Siraha-4, is Chairman of Machhapuchchhre Bank.
Hari Dhakal of RSP elected from Chitwan 1 is a stock investor. Rajkumar Gupta, elected from Parsa-3, is a merchant from Birgunj. Gupta has a steel industry. Deepak Bahadur Singh of RPP, elected from Makwanpur 1, is also a businessman.
In addition to the FPTP electoral system, a number of businesspersons are set to be elected as a member of parliament through the PR electoral system. Devi Bhattachan, President of Prabhu Group, is on the top of the PR list of CPN-UML under indigenous nationalities cluster. He is sure to be a member of the House of Representatives. Similarly, another businessman, Anil Rungta, is also in the PR list of NC.
As the elections are becoming more expensive, the businessmen, who have enough financial resources, are increasingly joining politics. Some of the businessmen, who joined politics this way, have already served as MPs while a few others are new faces.
Given the fact that adequate financial resources is a must to contest elections that are often expensive in Nepal, most businessmen who contested the election have been successful. Although the businessmen, who joined politics and contested the elections after announcing that they will not take government services, have failed to live up to their promises.