Nepal | May 27, 2020

NC struggles to finalise candidates

• BY-ELECTIONS 2019

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, November 5

As just two days remain for filing nomination, the marathon meeting of Nepali Congress office bearers running since Sunday has been struggling to finalise candidates for the upcoming by-elections slated for November 30.

Major reason for this, according to party insiders, is multiple claims for Kaski House of Representatives Constituency-2. NC district committee has forwarded 16 names, while influential youth leader and central working committee leader Dhan Raj Gurung too has staked his claim for the seat.

Moreover, Senior NC leader Ramchandra Paudel is making bids to get a candidate close to him nominated. Both Gurung and Dev Raj Chalise, who lost the seat to late Rabindra Adhikari of the Nepal Communist Party in general elections of 2017, are considered close to Paudel.

However, the NC district committee has warned it will not cooperate with any candidate who does not belong to the constituency. Gurung is from Syangja, while Chalise is a local. On the other hand, there are also voices that since Chalise lost the last election, he should not be fielded again in the by-election.

NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said the party would finalise candidates by
tomorrow.

Election stakes are high in Kaski Constituency-2 as both the ruling NCP and main opposition NC are under pressure to win the contest. For the NCP, the election is a measure to gauge the popularity of not only the party but also the government, so it wants to retain the seat. 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 ruling Nepal Communist Party has already decided its candidates. The party on Sunday decided to field Bidhya Bhattarai for Kaski House of Representatives Consitutency-2. Bhattarai is wife of late Rabindra Adhikari. Adhikari had won the constituency in the general elections of 2017, but the constituency became vacant after he died in a helicopter crash in February.

The NCP has fielded Devi Prasad Dhakal for Bhaktapur Provincial Assembly Constituency-1, and Bimala Oli for Dang Provincial Assembly Constituency-3. The party has decided to support Rastriya Janamorcha for Baglung Provincial Assembly Constituency-2. The Rastriya Janamorcha has fielded Khim Bikram Shahi for the constituency.

The party has also decided to field Prakash Rai for the mayor of Dharan Sub-metropolitan City. Of the finalised candidates, Dhakal belongs to former CPN-Maoist Centre, while the rest come from the former CPN-UML.

The ruling coalition partner Samajwadi Party-Nepal also expects to finalise candidates by tomorrow, while it has finalised candidates for a few seats. For Kaski-2, it has decided to field Dharma Raj Gurung; for Baglung-2 Ashok Kumar BK; and for Dang-3 Dilli Bahadur Dangi. SP-N leader Ram Sahay Yadav said the party would finalise all the candidates by tonight or tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has almost completed preparations for the by-elections. EC Spokesperson Raj Kumar Shrestha said offices of chief election officer have been set up in all four districts where by-elections will be held for HoR and Provincial Assembly seats. The EC plans to set up offices in districts where local-level by-elections will be conducted, by tomorrow. As for election observation, Shrestha said seven national organisations have applied for election observation. The EC did not invite international organisations for election observation this time. “This is because, the by-elections are not fresh elections, but complementary to 2017 general elections. Moreover, there was time constraint,” he said.

The by-elections will be held on November 30 for 52 vacant posts of people’s representatives —one member of the HoR, three provincial assembly members and 48 chiefs, deputy chiefs and ward chairs of local levels.

Aspiring candidates will have to file their nominations on Saturday for the elections of a HoR member in Kaski Constituency-2 and provincial assembly members in Bhaktapur Constituency-1, Baglung Constituency-2 and Dang Constituency-3. Nominations of candidates for by-elections of local levels will be on November 13.

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