Kathmandu, November 10
The Election Commission today published final list of 64 candidates contesting the upcoming by-elections for one member of the House of Representatives and three provincial assembly members, to be held on November 30.
Of the total 65 candidates filing their nominations on Thursday, independent candidate Purushottam Khanal withdrew his nomination for Kaski House of Representatives Constituency-2. Also, the EC did not receive any complaints against any of those filing nominations, according to EC Spokesperson Raj Kumar Shrestha.
The EC had given a day (Friday) for filing complaints, if any, against the nominations, and the candidates could withdraw their nominations today. “We published the final list of 64 candidates after we did not receive any complaints. One independent candidate has withdrawn his nomination,” said Shrestha.
Of the total 64 candidates, 55 are men and nine are women. With the latest revision, Kaski HoR Constituency-2 now has 21 candidates contesting; 19 candidates in Bhaktapur Provincial Assembly Constituency – 1(A); 10 candidates in Baglung Provincial Assembly Constituency – 2(B); and 14 in Dang Provincial Assembly Constituency – 3(B).
The by-elections will be held on November 30 for 52 vacant posts of people’s representatives — one member of the House of Representatives, three provincial assembly members and 48 chiefs, deputy chiefs and ward chairs of local levels. Nominations of candidates for by-elections of local levels will be held on Wednesday.
Although the by-elections are being held for 52 posts, all eyes are on Kaski Constituency-2, which fell vacant after Rabindra Adhikari of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), representing the constituency, died in a helicopter crash in February. In the high-stakes Kaski HoR Constituency-2, NCP has fielded Bidhya Bhattarai, wife of late Adhikari, while Khem Raj Paudel is contesting the elections representing the main opposition Nepali Congress.
The constituency is expected to see stiff contest between the NCP’s Bhattarai and the NC Paudel, as both the ruling NCP and main opposition NC are under pressure to win the contest. For the NCP, the election is an opportunity to gauge popularity of not only the party but also the government. So it wants to retain the seat at all cost. On the other hand, the NC is expecting to cash in on ‘decreased popularity’ of the ruling party and the government, and exhibit strong opposition presence.
The NCP rebel candidate in Baglung Provincial Assembly Constituency – 2(B) Sher Man Gharti has decided to support Rastriya Janamorcha’s Khim Bikram Shahi, although the former did not withdrew his nomination.
The NCP did not nominate any candidate for the seat and decided to support the Janamorcha. Miffed over the party’s decision, Gharti had filed his nomination as an independent candidate. He, however, announced to support the Janamorcha’s candidate today following suggestions from the party’s Baglung district leadership. Issuing a statement, he said he could not withdraw his nomination due to time constraint.
A version of this article appears in print on November 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.