Kathmandu, December 12
As the race for provincial chief ministers gets on, only one woman candidate appears to be aspiring for the post.
CPN-UML Vice-chairperson Asta Laxmi Shakya is a probable candidate for CM in Province 3.
One of the top women leaders of the country, Shakya has been Member of Parliament and has held several ministerial portfolios in the past. She won provincial election from Kathmandu-8 (B).
Poll results so far suggest that six of the seven provinces will have CMs from the left alliance, while Madhes-based parties are likely to form government in Province 2.
Besides Shrestha, other CM aspirants in Provincce-3 include UML politburo member Rajendra Pandey, who won provincial polls from Dhading-1(A); Sanu Kumar Shestha who won from Kathmandu 2(A); Arun Nepal from Sindhupalchowk and Pashupati Chaulagain from Dolakha.
Although not formally announced, major parties had given provincial assembly election tickets to some senior leaders projected as CM hopefuls.
In Province 1, two former cabinet ministers are in the chief ministerial race. They include former tourism minister and the UML’s central secretary Bhim Acharya (Sunsari -1(B)) and former communications Minister Sher Dhan Rai (Bhojpur -1(B)). “Both leaders are capable of holding the CM’s post, but the party is likely to consider regional sentiments while picking the CM candidate,” said UML leader Agni Kharel.
In Province 2, Madhesi-based Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal and Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal have jointly won 35 out of the total 64 seats in the province, and speculations are rife they will jointly form the provincial government there.
According to RJP-N Spokesperson Keshab Jha, RJP leaders Manish Suman and Jitendra Sonal could be chief ministerial candidates. Suman won from Saptari-2(B), while Sonal was elected from Bara-4(B). “If the FSF-N gets the CM post, former cabinet minister Bijaya Yadav, who won from Siraha-2(A), or the party’s vice-chair Lal Bahadur Raut, who won from Parsa-1(B), could be CM candidates,” Jha said.
As per Article 168 of the constitution , a member of provincial assembly who can prove majority shall become the chief minister.
As far as Province 4 is concerned, UML is likely to pick Secretary Prithivi Subba Gurung, or standing committee member Kiran Gurung, as CM. Prithivi won the provincial election from Lamjung (B), while Kiran won from Tanahun-2(B). Both candidates had fought elections projecting themselves as future CMs.
In Province-5, where the UML won 28 out of 44 seats, the party could pick standing committee member Shanker Pokharel as CM. He won provincial polls from Dang-2(A). UML cadres in Dang had projected Pokhrel as future CM during campaigning.
According to Sanu Shrestha, one CM post, either in Province 6 or 7, will go to the CPN-MC. UML leader Yamlal Kandel and CPM-MC’s Mahendra Shahi are possible CM candidates in Province 6, while UML youth leader Karna Bahadur Thapa has been projected as probable CM candidate in Province 7.
A version of this article appears in print on December 13, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.