With nominations filed, election fever grips Kaski Constituency-2NCP, Sajha and Bibeksheel have fielded woman candidates, while Nepali Congress has chosen a long-time party member.
Three women candidates are in the fray in the by-election for a House of Representatives seat from Kaski Constituency-2.
The ruling Nepal Communist Party has fielded Bidya Bhattarai while Sajha Party and Bibeksheel Party have made Rajni KC and Jamuna Sharma their candidates.
Khemraj Poudel is contesting for the federal parliament seat from the Congress party. The by-election is scheduled for November 30.
The position has remained vacant after then Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari, who had won the constituency in 2017 elections, died in a helicopter crash in Taplejung on February 27.
Bhattarai is the wife of Adhikari.
A student leader, Bhattarai made her foray into politics via All Nepal National Free Students Union, the student wing of then CPN-UML, during the first people’s movement in 1990. She was active in student politics until she married Adhikari in July 1999. She then gradually distanced herself from politics and then took up the teaching profession. She has been affiliated to Ratna Rajya College of the Tribhuvan University but was posted at the university’s Kirtipur-based research centre.
KC, who was previously associated with the Nepali Congress, defected to Sajha Party on September 14. She joined the party after resigning from her post as the deputy administrator at Pokhara University. She had worked on the field of safe motherhood and family planning and claims herself to be a campaigner for social transformation.
She has studied population, gender studies and development and is currently a central committee member of the party.
Bibeksheel’s Sharma is a psychosocial counsellor by profession. She studied sociology and anthropology. Sharma has been working as a counsellor in Pokhara since 2012.
Nepali Congress’ candidate Poudel is a long-time member of the party.
The party decided to pick Poudel after the office bearers rejected party President Sher Bahadur Deuba’s proposal to field central working committee member Dhanraj Gurung. Poudel, 74, is a representative of the party's general convention.
Apart from Kaski-2, by-elections are also being held to elect provincial members in Bhaktapur (A), Baglung (B) and Dang (B).
According to the Election Commission, 101 parties are participating in the by-elections. The parties that contested the 2017 elections automatically qualify to participate in the by-elections, while at least 16 new parties or those which came into being following mergers after the 2017 elections are also participating in the by-polls, according to the election office.
In the last elections, the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) had formed an alliance and jointly fought the elections. In Kaski-2, UML's Adhikari had defeated Congress' Devraj Chalise by over 8,000 votes. Bibeksheel Sajha's Sri Krishna Shrestha had stood third by garnering 843 votes, as the Maoists had not fielded any candidate as part of their alliance with the UML.
Bibeksheel Sajha, however, split earlier this year to become Bibeksheel Party and Sajha Party and they have fielded their own candidates.
On Thursday, a total of 22 nominations were filed for the by-election in Kaski-2.