Political parties expedite election campaigningAs the date of local polls nears, political parties are expediting their campaigns, working on election manifestos and setting the criteria for selecting candidates.
As the date of local polls nears, political parties are expediting their campaigns, working on election manifestos and setting the criteria for selecting candidates.
The ruling CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, and the main opposition CPN-UML are ahead of other forces while the largest party Nepali Congress is in internal consultation to come up with a strategy for the May 14 vote.
The ruling Maoists have already sent necessary documents to the subordinate committees and have started selecting candidates on the basis of the set criteria. Chief of the Local Level Election Deployment Committee of the party Dev Gurung said on the phone from Parbat district that his party is busy with internal preparations after sending internal directives and working procedures to the local committees.
The deployment committee has already sent the 29-point draft election manifesto, called the commitment paper, to the lower committees for suggestions.
The second largest party, UML, has also finalised its selection criteria, after completing its two weeks long Mechi-Mahakali Campaign. The party is holding a broad gathering of its cadres in Province 2 on Wednesday.
The selection criteria of the Maoist Centre and the CPN-UML are similar. Both the parties have given top priority to “loyalty” of candidates to the party
and popularity in their constituency.
The Standing Committee meeting on Sunday decided to centralise all the activities of the party for the polls and deploy leaders who have no other major role in the party for campaigning. Party Secretary Prithvi Subba Gurung said the UML would form its local committees in the federal structure, finalise the election manifesto and form a central coordination and monitoring committee by mid-April.
The Rastriya Prajatantra Party is in a similar phase of preparations. The fourth largest party in Parliament is currently holding is nationwide campaign called the ‘RPP with the people’, mobilising Central Working Committee members to hold meetings with people in every district. The party’s Central Election Mobilisation Committee, led by party Chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa, will decide on the election manifesto, publicity campaigns and candidates for the local polls that are being held after nearly two decades. The mobilisation committee directed its subordinate committees to recommend the names of candidates from the respective village and municipal councils.
The party has village and municipal committees to recommend candidates for the village and municipal councils to the respective district committees of the party by April 7. “The district committees will take a final decision on the candidates for village and municipal councils. The mobilisation committee will decide in cases of metropolitan and sub-metropolitan cities,” said RPP Spokesperson Bhuvan Pathak. The Election Commission has set April 29 as the date to file nominations. Pathak said the RPP mobilisation committee will meet on Thursday to decide on the party’s manifesto and the possibility of forming electoral alliance with other parties. He added that the party was open to “respectable” alliance with any party for the May elections.
Even the CPN Revolutionary Maoist, led by Mohan Baidya, which had boycotted the Second Constituent Assembly elections, has decided to participate in the local elections by forming alliances with “patriotic” forces. Leader Badri Bajgain said the party would forge alliances with the parties other than the Maoist
centre, the NC, the UML and the RPP.
The Naya Shakti Nepal party led by Baburam Bhattarai has also started internal preparations for the local polls. It held a meeting of its Central Council in the Capital on Tuesday.
The Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, which is threatening to launch stern protests to foil the elections if the parties abandoned the agenda of constitution amendment, is also looking for a “safe landing” for participation in the polls as the election fever seems to have gripped the people down to the grassroots.