Parties concentrate efforts in villages, scramble to find right candidates for local election

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Gorkha, March 28, 2017: As local-level elections inch closer, political parties have boosted their presence in villages in Gorkha. All the big parties have also intensified their hunt for right candidates.

Leaders and cadres — from central- to district-level — are busy with promotional programs at rural municipalities and municipalities. They are assessing their weaknesses and strengths, possible candidates, and aspirations of the locals, among others.

There are 94 wards in nine rural municipalities and two municipalities in the district. Each ward will elect five members, including the chair of the ward. Similarly, rural municipalities and municipalities will each have a president and a vice president, according to the Election Commission.

This means a political party, if it wants to contest in all rural municipalities and municipalities, has to field 492 candidates. And, 40 percent of them have to be female candidates.

Therefore, the parties have concentrated their efforts on the selection of candidates, with those who are socially, politically and intellectually influential topping the list of prospective candidates. The parties are even persuading independent candidates to come to their fold.

According to locals, despite tough competition, the parties are doing their bit to nominate candidates unanimously. Given the compulsion of fielding too many candidates, which is quite new to them, the parties are scrambling to identify candidates that are better than those nominated by rivals, the locals said.

“Multiple promotional programs are being held every day. There is no time to waste. Leaders are actively engaged in preparations,” said Hari Bahadur Ghale, district president of the Nepali Congress. “The Nepali Congress, Gorkha, has been running massive election campaigns for the past week,” he said.

From the Nepali Congress, Chinkaji Shrestha is busy in Arughat, while Surendra Raj Panday has focused his efforts at Ajirkot and Abdul Satar.

According to Ghale, since this is the first election being held under the new structure, parties have to put in extra efforts. “Now, every nook and corner will have the state’s presence. No place will be left behind,” he said.

He added: “We are following the party’s direction. Necessary training and guidance have been given to the cadres. Preparations are going on in full swing.”

The CPN -UML and the CPN (Maoist-Centre) are also busy with reorganizing their local committees. They trying equally hard to attract as many strong candidates as possible and woo the voters.

“We are looking for candidates who can draw maximum votes. So our candidates have to be more influential than those of rival parties. We are trying to unanimously select candidates,” said Lekh Bahadur Thapa, district president of CPN (Maoist-Centre).

“We have to be aware of our strengths and weaknesses. It is also very important to study the mentality of the voters. For this, leaders have reached out to the remotest parts of the villages,” he said.

By Narahari Sapkota

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