NC, Maoist-Centre yet to pick candidates for by-elections


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By A Staff ReporterKathmandu, Mar. 31: The political atmosphere in Ilam and Bajhang is heating up as parties are gearing up for the forthcoming by-elections scheduled for April 27. 

Election to the House Representatives is being held in Ilam-2 to fill up the vacant seat after the demise of CPN- UML leader Subas Nembang while people in Bajhang (A) are going to elect a Provincial Assembly member.  

The CPN (Unified Socialist), CPN-UML, Rashtriya Swatantra Party (RSP) and Rasrtiya Prajatantra Party have already announced their candidates for the by-polls, intensifying the competition.

CPN (Unified Socialist) has declared its candidates for both Ilam-2 and Bajhang (A). According to party sources, Jit Bahadur Rai and Dil Bahadur Singh have been chosen to represent the party in Ilam-2 and Bajhang (A) respectively. Rai is a former Chairman of Maijogmai Rural Municipality.

The CPN-UML as speculated earlier,  has picked Suhang Nembang, the late Subas Nembang's son, as its candidate in the Ilam-2.  The party’s secretariat meeting on Sunday last week finalised Nembang's candidacy, solidifying the party's stance in the constituency.

Meanwhile, the RSP has nominated Milan Limbu as its candidate for the Ilam-2 constituency. The decision came after Limbu received unanimous support from five other aspiring party candidates. RSP announced its candidate by organising a mass meeting in Ilam Bazaar on Saturday. 

However, major parties like the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) are yet to finalise their candidates. Both parties are carefully considering their options amidst the competitive environment.

"Seven NC leaders are vying for election ticket in Ilam-2. The district and province committees have recommended their names to the central committee.  We are actively monitoring candidates from other political parties as well. After thoroughly considering all factors, including the presence of other party candidates and the district's political scenario, we will finalise our candidate. A central working committee meeting is scheduled, and we aim to conclude the candidate selection process by April 2," said Min Bahadur Bishwakarma, Member of Parliament and Chief of the Publicity Department of the Nepali Congress.

It is said that while the lower committees of NC recommended the seven candidates with Bhesh Raj Acharya as the most potential candidate for Ilam-2, party district president Dambar Khadka and former lawmaker Keshav Thapa are exerting pressure on the leadership for the election ticket. Khadka lost the election to the late Nembang despite being a common candidate of the then ruling collation parties in November 2022. 

Similarly, the ruling party CPN (Maoist Centre) is yet to finalise its candidate for the by-election. As a party leading the current coalition government, the Maoist Centre is deliberating whether to support a candidate from another party or nominate its representative.

Birendra Sharma Timalsina, Urmila Tamang, Om Bahadur Gurung, and Kumar Baraili have been recommended as potential candidates for Ilam -2, whereas Janak Buda is recommended by the Sudurpaschim Province committee for the Bajhang (A) election.

"We are currently coordinating with the province committees to select the candidate for the by-elections. We have provided them with our considerations and requested them to recommend suitable candidates. Once they finalise the names, the party will select a candidate before the nomination deadline of April 6," said Dev Gurung, General Secretary of the Maoist Centre.

In Ilam-2, a total of 20 parties have registered for the election while in Bajhang (A), 19 parties have registered for the election, according to records of the Election Commission. Notably, RSP has decided not to contest the provincial assembly by-election in Bajhang.

Meanwhile, the NC has called its Central Work Performance Committee’s meeting for Friday. The meeting called by party president Sher Bahadur Deuba is likely to finalise the candidates for the by-elections.

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