Surkhet, October 28
Majority of candidates contesting from Province 6 for November 26 elections are none other than the same old faces who have already made appearances in various elections before.
The province consists of seven districts, namely, Rukum (Western), Jajarkot, Kalikot, Jumla, Mugu, Humla and Dolpa. Interestingly, though the local level of the parties recommended new faces, the heavyweights somehow managed to ensure election tickets for them given their influence and access to central leadership.
In a case in point, Nepali Congress leader Gopalji Jung Shah is running for the Parliament for the fifth time from Rukum. He had won in the parliamentary elections back in 1991. Similarly, CPN-Maoist leader Janardan Sharma is contesting the polls for the fourth time. Having lost to Shah in the 1991 election, he had managed to win in both first and second Constituent Assembly elections. Likewise, in Jajarkot, among the repeated faces are Nepali Congress’s Raj Bikram Shah and CPN-MC’s leader Shakti Bahadur Basnet. Both of them had won from different constituencies back in 2013 in second constituent assembly election.
From Mugu, former minister Hasta Bahadur Malla of Nepali Congress is running for a seat in the parliament for the fifth time this November. He had won in two parliamentary elections in 1991 and 1994. He was defeated in the successive two elections including the first constituent assembly election. As for UML, former parliamentarian Chandra Bahadur Shahi is making his third election appearance now. Having won in 1999 parliamentary polls but lost in the first CA election, he is running for a provincial assembly seat this time.
While former minister and two-time elected parliamentarian Jivan Bahadur Shahi of NC is contesting for the fourth time from Humla, Bupendra jung Shahi of the same party is contesting for the second time for a parliament seat from Kalikot. He had lost in the second CA election earlier.
Similarly, this the second time in the election race for CPN-MC leader Mahendra Bahadur Shahi. He had won in the second CA elections. UML’s Dhan Bahadur Budha is bracing for elections for the third time now from Dolpa. He was elected in the second CA elections. This is third time election appearance for CPN-MC’s Naresh Bhandari as well. He had won in the first CA elections from Jumla.
Regarding the repeated candidates, civil society leaders have expressed their concerns. “It’s very unfortunate that leaders don’t want to see fresh faces elected,” said civil society leader Krishna Prasad Hamal. Meanwhile, as per the sources with the Election Commission, not a single nomination of women has been filed by major political parties for the upcoming provincial and parliamentary elections from Province 6.
Despite the statutory provision that ensures 33 per cent reservation for women, major parties such as NC, UML and CPN-MC have selected all male candidates to contest in seven parliamentary and 14 provincial assembly seats from the province.
A version of this article appears in print on October 29, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.