NC struggling to pick candidates

Nepali Congress (NC) is struggling to pick candidates even on the day of filing nomination for the upcoming local election.

The party should finalize candidates a month before the election as per the party statute. But it has yet to form the parliamentary board that distributes election tickets.

The party needs to form a 25-strong parliamentary board including 14 office-bearers and 11 nominated by party president. But NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba has not formed the board even as such boards have been formed at the provincial and district levels.

He is preparing to distribute tickets for metropolitan and sub-metropolitan cities through the NC working committee that includes office-bearers and top leaders.

NC will field mayoral candidates in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Biratnagar out of the six metropolitan cities as per the agreement reached within the ruling coalition.

NC, similarly, will get to field mayoral candidates in Dhangadi, Nepalgunj, Tulsipur, Butwal, Kalaiya, Itahari, and Dharan out of the 11 sub-metropolitan cities. The grand old party will also get to field candidates for deputy mayor in all the metropolitan and sub-metropolitan cities where it will not get to field mayoral candidates.

The party, however, is struggling to pick candidates due to a plethora of aspirants and the dispute between the Deuba faction and the faction of Shekhar Koirala who lost the runoff for NC president in the recent general convention.

Nil Kaji Shakya—President of Kathmandu Metropolitan Congress, Sirjana Singh, current Deputy Mayor Hariprabha Khadgi Shrestha, Susan Baidya and Pragati Man Ranjit have been recommended as probable NC candidate for the post of Kathmandu mayor.

Singh—who was active in the student and women wing of NC a long time back—is wife of Prakash Man Singh. There is lobbying in the party that the candidate should be picked only with blessing of Prakash Man Singh.

Current Lalitpur Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan is again in the running for the post.

Maharjan, President of Lalitpur Metropolitan Congress Shubhanan Dhakwa, Bharat Lal Nyanchho, Prem Krishna Maharjan, current Deputy Mayor Geeta Satyal, former president of Lalitpur Metropolitan Congress Rajesh Maharjan and Ananta Prakash Shrestha have been recommended as probable mayoral candidate.

NC is also struggling to pick mayoral candidate for Biratnagar. The Koirala faction is staking claim for the mayoral ticket while Deuba has proposed to make Amrit Aryal the party’s candidate. But Koirala is insisting to make Nagesh Koirala the candidate pointing that Minendra Rijal and Mahesh Acharya should also be consulted before awarding tickets.

A party source confided that Deuba and Shekhar Koirala had a heated argument on the issue of picking candidate for Biratnagar mayor during the discussion at Baluwatar Sunday evening.

Former general secretary Krishna Sitaula wants current mayor Bhim Parajuli to be repeated as the mayoral candidate.  

The Koirala faction is dominant in Morang but the Sitaula faction is strong in Province 1 and won provincial president with support of the Deuba faction in return for Sitaula’s support for Deuba in the election for party president.  

The party is preparing to finalize candidates through the working committee meeting scheduled for Sunday.

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