BARDIA, April 15: Women leaders in Bardia expecting to contest the upcoming local-level elections are worried after powerful central leaders of major political parties threw themselves into the fray.
Major parties' move to endorse powerful and experienced candidates has come as a great threat for beginners and junior members.
Anju Dahit of the CPN (Maoist-Center) was actively participating in election promotion campaigns until a few days ago. The party had pledged to nominate her for the post of mayor of Barbardia municipality. But after some of senior members of the party expressed their interest in filing candidacy for the same post, she has lost her zeal.
“The party had insisted that I file the candidacy,” she said. “But I didn't know that I would have to first compete against such powerful opponents within the party before contesting the election.”
Recently, the party forwarded the name of Durga Bahadur Tharu for the post. Dahit, who is a local of Barbardia, has made a significant contribution to the party and is also admired by the locals.
“No matter how qualified junior members are, they can never beat seniors as they are always prioritized by political parties as well as the voters,” said Dahit.
In Babai municipality, CPN-Maoist had held discussions just after the announcement of the election on whom to nominate, and Krishna Kushma Chaudhary was one of the names discussed. Since then, Chaudhary has been roaming around villages to woo voters. But the party is now planning to nominate Krishna Acharya.
By the look of things, male candidates will dominate the nominations of various parties in Bardia district.
In Gularia, the largest municipality in the district, none of the political parties have projected a female candidate for the top post of mayor.
The Nepali Congress (NC) has forwarded the names of Tika Adhikari and Sushila Giri for deputy-mayor, while the CPN-UML has endorsed Tika Sanseri. The CPN-Maoist plans to nominate Mithila Phuyal for the same post.
As per the official provision, at least one female candidate must be elected as either mayor or deputy mayor in a municipality. But women leaders in the district have accused the political parties of conspiring to sideline them, despite their willingness to contest the election.
They have complained about the parties not prioritizing women despite being qualified and capable enough to fight the elections.
There are six municipalities and two rural municipalities in Bardia.