NC office-bearers shun PR candidacy

KATHMANDU : Nepali Congress (NC) office-bearers including the party president are preparing to contest the November 20 elections under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system.

As the party is holding discussion to prepare the list of candidates for the proportional representation (PR) electoral system, the office-bearers have not shown interest in being in the list of PR candidates. Their emphasis is on contesting the FPTP election.

NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba, who is also the prime minister, is contesting the election from Dadeldhura. He was unanimously recommended as candidate by the Dadeldhura party committee.

Vice-presidents Purna Bahadur Khadka and Dhanraj Gurung are also preparing to contest the election under FPTP. Khadka was unanimously recommended as the candidate from Surkhet Constituency No. 1, while Gurung is contesting the election from Syangja Constituency No. 1.

General Secretaries Gagan Thapa and Bishwa Prakash Sharma are also contesting the election under FPTP. Thapa’s name was recommended from different parts of the country, but he will be the candidate from Kathmandu-4.

Sharma is preparing to contest the election from Jhapa Constituency No. 1. He has been saying that he won’t contest the election if he doesn’t get the Jhapa-1 ticket. He has been unanimously recommended by the constituency.

All eight joint general secretaries of the party are also preparing to contest the election under FPTP.

Joint General Secretary Mahalaxmi Upadhyaya Dina is preparing to contest the election from Makawanpur. She wants to contest from Makawanpur Constituency No. 2, but the party is preparing to field her from Makawanpur-1 by leaving Makawanpur-2 to Birodh Khatiwada of CPN (Unified Socialist), according to an NC leader.

Joint General Secretary Badri Pandey has been recommended from Bajura along with Attorney General Khamma Bahadur Khati, Man Bahadur Rawal, Kaviraj Pandit, Janakraj Giri, Sher Bahadur Khati and Angaraj Timilsena.

Another Joint General Secretary Jeevan Pariyar is looking to contest the FPTP election from Kaski Constituency No. 1, but he has not been unanimously recommended. NC district president Kishor Datta Baral, Yagya Bahadur Thapa, Guru Baral and others are also vying for the ticket.

Joint General Secretary Umakant Chaudhary has been recommended from Bara Constituency No. 1 while another Joint General Secretary Farmullah Mansur has been recommended from Bara-3. However, their recommendations had run into controversy as there is dispute between the Chaudhary and Mansur factions of the party in Bara.

Joint General Secretary Kishor Singh Rathaur is preparing to contest the election from Bardiya. He said that he will contest from Bardiya-2 as far as possible but he could contest from Banke-3 too if there is no consensus within the party and the coalition.

Another Joint General Secretary Bhishma Raj Angdembe is preparing to contest the election from Panchthar. The regional committee has unanimously recommended him.

Joint General Secretary Mahendra Yadav is eyeing Dhanusha Constituency No. 4. The regional committee has recommended him and district president Yogendra Panjiyar as candidates.

NC Spokesperson Prakash Sharan Mahat has been recommended from different constituencies including Kathmandu-5, Nuwakot-1 and 2. But he is planning to contest from Nuwakot-1 this time.

NC leader Ram Chandra Paudel has been recommended from Tanahun-1 along with Shankar Bhandari.

Krishna Prasad Sitaula is preparing to contest the election from Jhapa-3, while Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand has been recommended from Rupandehi-2 and 3.

Minister for Communication Gyanendra Bahadur Karki has been unanimously recommended as the party’s candidate from Sunsari-4.

Former general secretary Prakash Man Singh and former joint general secretary Arjun Narsingh KC are looking to contest the election from Kathmandu-1 and Nuwakot-2, respectively.

However, Arjun Narsingh KC and Bal Bahadur KC are not happy as their names have been included in the list of PR candidates from Nuwakot and Solukhumbu, respectively.

Former NC vice-president Bimalendra Nidhi has been recommended as PR candidate from Dhanusha though he had been saying that he was willing to contest the election from any constituency.

Shekhar Koirala failed to get unanimous recommendation from Morang-6, with Dila Sangraula, Ramesh Jung Rayamajhi and Shiva Kumar Basnet also recommended as candidates from the constituency.

Similarly, Sujata Koirala has been recommended from Morang-2 along with Minendra Rijal.

Though the party’s office-bearers and top leaders are keen to contest the election under FPTP, it is not certain who will get which constituency when the coalition finalizes sharing of seats.

NC had decided through its central committee to continue with the five-party alliance in the upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, NC office-bearers and top leaders are holding informal discussion on preparing the list of PR candidates at Baluwatar on Thursday afternoon, said a leader.

A meeting of the parliamentary board held earlier had set criteria for selection of PR candidates. The party has decided to not pick those who were elected under the PR system in 2017. It has also decided to not select those who had contested the local elections in May.

The party plans to include popular personalities who could increase the party’s votes in the list of PR candidates.

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