Elections 2017: Candidates' lists infested with criminals, goonsDespite parties’ oft-repeated claims that they would go for socially respected and deserving candidates in the elections, a look at their lists of candidates could lead one to a different realisation.
Despite parties’ oft-repeated claims that they would go for socially respected and deserving candidates in the elections, a look at their lists of candidates could lead one to a different realisation.
Notorious gangsters and medical college owners have filed their candidacy for the upcoming federal and provincial elections. Among the aspiring candidates, some have cases sub judice in court while others are infamous for exercising undue political influence to jeopardise the medical education system.
On Thursday, the Nepali Congress fielded notorious gangster Ganesh Lama, who is charged with amassing property worth millions by illegal means, as a candidate for provincial assembly elections from Kavrepalanchok-1 (B). Lama was a central leader of the Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar-led Nepal Loktantrik Forum, which recently merged with the NC.
The Department of Money Laundering Investigation on May 19, 2013 had filed a case against Lama on charges of illegally amassing millions of rupees. In the second Constituent Assembly elections, Lama had got 4,908 votes in Kavre-2.
Sunil Sharma, managing director of Nobel Medical College, has also filed his candidacy from Morang-3 for the federal parliament. Sharma was on the fugitive list of the Central Investigation Bureau for possessing fake academic credentials.
Sharma, wanted for possessing a fake degree from the Bihar Intermediate Education Council, had been at large after the CIB arrested him in the second week of June 33, 2016 when doctors carrying counterfeit higher secondary certificates were rounded up. Sharma had got the certificate in 1996 from BDBKS College, Forbesganj. While the CIB verified Sharma's document with the BIEC, it was found to be counterfeit.
On Thursday, Sharma along with his supporters, filed his nomination for the upcoming polls. This list of questionable characters is not exhaustive. The UML made a controversial choice in Manang. Though the party did not give the ticket to gangster Rajiv Gurung aka Deepak Manange in the second phase of upcoming polls, a party loyalist withdrew her candidacy in favour of Manange.
UML candidate Khanda Lama had withdrawn her nomination from a constituency in the district to support independent candidate Manange in the provincial assembly elections. Manange, who joined the UML recently, had filed his nomination as an independent candidate on October 22, following the UML central committee’s refusal to make him the party's official candidate despite the district committee’s unanimous decision in his favour.
The candidacies of some of these infamous people are what experts call criminalisation of politics and politicisation of crime. "Many times politicians tend to resort to goons because of their sheer influence, either through persecution or prosecution, in their community. This helps politicians secure more votes," said Uddab Pyakurel, a political expert and assistant professor at the Kathmandu University. "On the other hand, detestation of politics by the new urban middle class and youths too makes parties go for candidates who are infamous."
The first phase of federal and provincial elections is scheduled to take place on November 26 in 32 districts while the second-phase polls will be held on December 7.