KATHMANDU, April 15: With the local level election now less than a month away, Province 6 has been completely gripped by election fever. People in the districts the province - Surkhet, Dailekh, Jajarkot, Kalikot, Jumla and Rukum - are eagerly waiting for the local polls slated for May 14 with full enthusiasm.
Tough electoral battles are being anticipated in Surkhet, the centre of Province 6. Fierce competition among election candidates is expected in all five municipalities of the district. The election has become a popular topic of discussion at formal as well as gatherings and people have started predicting the results. Intra-party discussions on the possible candidates have already started in al major political parties.
While the ruling CPN (Maoist Centre) has declared its candidates for four of the nine local units, the other two big parties - Nepali Congress (NC) and the main opposition CPN-UML - are yet to announce their candidates.
The Maoist Centre has picked Ratna Gaha as its candidate for the post of mayor of Birendranagar Municipality, a hotly contested area. Similarly, Hari Maya Sharma is the party's candidate for deputy-mayor. The candidates have already begun their door-to-door campaigns aimed at convincing the voters.
From the NC, Kamal Raj Regmi, Govind Koirala, Dev Kumar Subedi, Janaki Singh among others are deemed as the probable candidates in the municipality. Similarly, the UML will possibly pick one among some half a dozen local leaders - Balaram Sharma, Amrit BC, Nilkantha Khanal, Kulmani Devkota, Mohanmaya Dhakal and Krishna Bahadur Hamal - as its mayoral candidates.
The election fever has also gripped the other municipalities - Lekhbesi, Bheriganga, Panchapuri and Gurvakot.
Three of the seven local units of Jajarkot district are municipalities. In the district, big parties are struggling to pick winnable candidates for the post of mayor and deputy mayor as many leaders have shown interest in the top posts. Many leaders from various parties are vying to become the chief of Tribeni Nalgad Municipality, Chedagad Municipality and Bheri Municipality. The big three parties are busy finalizing their candidates.
Election fervor is also strong in Dailekh, another district of Province 6. NC, UML and Maoist Centre are vying to win the elections in the district's four municipalities - Dullu Municipality, Aathbis Municipality, Chamunda Bindasaini Municipality and Narayan Municipality.
The same could be said for Kalikot, Jumla and Rukum districts. Big parties are yet to declare their candidates for municipalities of Kalikot district- Rustakot Municipality, Khadachakra Municipality and Tilagufa Municipality. The parties are in the process of declaring their candidates for various local units of Jumla, Dolpa and Mugu.
The Maoist Centre has announced its candidates for Musikot Municipality of Rukum. Devi Lal Gautam and Prem Kumari Sunar KC have been chosen as the party's candidates for the post of mayor and deputy mayor respectively while the party is yet to declare its candidates for other municipalities. On the other hand, NC and UML are yet to announce their candidates for any of the municipalities.
(Republic district correspondents Nagendra Upadhyay from Surkhet, Govind KC from Dailekh, Janak KC from Jajarkot, Pabitra Shahi from Kalikot, DB Budha from Jumla and Ganesh BK from Rukum contributed to this report