With the November 20 polls for the House of Representatives and Provincial Assembly just a month away, election fever has gripped Madhes Province.

A few candidates, including independents and the incumbent chief minister, have projected themselves as possible future chief minister of the province.

Incumbent Chief Minister Lalbabu Raut had won the last polls from Parsa Constituency-1 B with a margin of 2,975 votes. He has claimed he will continue at the helm.

Nepali Congress' Parsa District Vice-president Ram Narayan Prasad Kurmi, who lost the last polls, has projected himself as successor to Raut. He is the common candidate of the ruling coalition from Parsa Constituency-1 B this time as well, while Raut is the common candidate of the CPN-UML and Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal.

In the last polls, Kurmi was defeated by Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal's Jannat Ansari. This time, Kurmi has filed his candidacy from Constituency-1 B after Constituency A was given to the CPN-Maoist Centre under the province assembly. Kurmi is facing off with Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal's Raut in the poll.

Two independents have also thrown their hats in the ring to vie for the post of chief minister from the same Parsa-1 B Constituency. Social activist and Loktantrik Samajwadi Party 's Om Prakash Sarraf has filed his nomination from Chief Minister Raut's constituency in Parsa. Sarraf said that since Raut had done nothing for Birgunj, people would throw Raut out this time. He expressed confidence that he would garner significant number of votes.

Likewise, Madhes movement's founder Sashikapur Miya has also filed nomination from Raut's constituency as an independent. Miya, who was also Loktantrik Samjawadi's central member, accused Chief Minister Raut of exchanging the province's headquarters for his post.

Ram Narayan Prasad Kurmi said that he had projected himself as an alternative to Chief Minister Raut. He said that Raut had left the people of Parsa disappointed.

"Raut did nothing even when he had the opportunity to do important job for the people and Parsa district," Kurmi charged.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Raut said that he was sure of being re-elected because of what he did during his stint as the chief minister. "I as chief minister have no right to fix the headquarters of the province. If I could, I would have made Birgunj the headquarters, not Janakpur," he added.

It cannot be forgotten that Raut's tenure was mired in corruption in 'Educate Girls, Save Girls' and cycle distribution programme.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 19, 2022 of The Himalayan Times.