POKHARA / CHITWAN, March 30: Before they could fight the upcoming local polls, influential leaders of the major political parties are battling to win their party's candidacy for the much-awaited election.
Political parties in the country's two major metropolitan cities - Pokhara of Kaski and Bharatpur of Chitwan - are busy finalizing their candidates who have the strongest chance of winning the election.
With the local polls now just 45 days away, the leaders are fighting a 'decisive battle' to secure their candidacy from their respective parties in the country's two major cities.
Leaders and cadres of Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Center), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), among others, in the two cities are having intense discussions on the potential candidates for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor.
Such discussions have become the talk of the towns now as the important day inches closer. Candidacy for the local polls has become an important topic of discussions and gossips at restaurants and tea shops of various chowks and bazaars. Local media and social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook have made such discussions even more widespread.
Although the big parties are yet to formally announce their candidates in the two cities, Republica has made an attempt at predicting the major parties' potential candidates for the upcoming polls.
Leaders carrying the ambition to win the prestigious posts of mayor and deputy mayor in Pokhara-Lekhnath Metropolitan City are competing fiercely against own party's members to win the candidacy. They are busy lobbying within their parties and wooing the party members to support their candidacies.
Over half a dozen leaders are in the race for candidacy for the post of mayor from NC in Pokhara. Leaders including Aanda Raj Mulmi, Bindu Kumar Thapa, Bajir Man Shrestha, Birendra Narayan Bijukchhe, Baburam Acharya, Bishnu Bastola, Ramji Kunwar, and Nandu Tiwari have shown interest in the candidacy for the post of mayor.
Similarly, one among Krishna Thapa, Man Bahadur JC, Rajiv Pahari, Shreenath Baral and Dhanraj Acharya is tipped to be the main opposition CPN-UML's candidate for the post of mayor of Pokhara.
The competition for winning party's candidacy is also fierce in the ruling CPN (Maoist Center). Leaders including Deepak Koirala, Bishwa Prakash Lamichhane, Komal Nath Baral, Jhalakpani Tiwari, and Ramji Baral are the aspirants for the post of mayor from the Maoist Center.
Similarly, the names of Gita Gurung, Ranjana Sen Paudel, Haridevi Adhikari and Dhanu Maya Koirala are being speculated as the potential candidate for the coveted post from the RPP.
“Everyone is allowed to be ambitious to win the party's candidacy. Many leaders have been lobbying to be elected as candidates,” said Nabin Sigdel, promotion coordinator and member of NC's Kaski chapter. “But so far, we have not decided on the candidacy for mayor and deputy mayor.”
Chairman of Kaski chapter of UML, Krishna Thpa, said they have set certain criteria for the candidacy. “The party will field only the experienced leaders who have a clear chance of winning fairly and honestly,” he said, adding that leaders with a tainted image will not be endorsed as the party's candidates under his watch.
The election fever has gripped the Bharatpur Metropolitan City as well. Many potential candidates from various political parties have expressed interest to become the mayor of Bharatpur, one of the four metropolitan cities of the country.
Intense debates on picking the candidates for the post of mayor and deputy mayor are going on in NC, CPN (Maoist Center), UML and RPP. These parties in Chitwan are in the final stage of announcing their candidates for the elections slated for May 14.
NC's possible candidate for the post of mayor in Bharatpur could be one among Tok Prasad Gurung, the party's former district president, student leader Rajendra Dotel and the party's women's wing chief Shanti Pariyar. Likewise, Jagannath Paudel, Dirgha Man Shrestha, Bijaya Bhusal, Shankar Kandel, Suryakanta Ghimire, Dinesh Koirala, Subodh Pradhan, Uttam Chuke among others are also in the race for the post of deputy mayor.
Jeet Narayan Shrestha, president of Chitwan chapter of NC, said the party's candidates will be announced by April 19 as per the instruction of the central committee.
The main opposition UML also has several potential candidates for the post of Bharatpur mayor.
Party's secretaries Bijaya Subedi, Tejendra Khadka and Devi Gyawali, as well as Ghan Shyam Bhattarai, Krishna Bhurtel, Arun Pidit Bhandari, and Krishna Raj Neupane among others are the potential candidates from the party.