Janata Samajbadi Party might have to pick a woman for Vice PresidentWhile the party has decided on Ram Sahay Yadav as candidate, election officials say the constitution calls for a woman.
Tika R Pradhan
After the election of Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Paudel as the country’s third President on Thursday, all eyes are now on who will become the next Vice President.
As the nine-party coalition has decided to support a Janata Samajbadi Party nominee for the nation’s second-highest position, the Madhesh-based party has decided to field its lawmaker and parliamentary party leader Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav as its candidate for Vice President.
But the Election Commission may not accept a male candidate arguing that the spirit of the constitution is to elect persons of different genders as President and Vice President.
Yadav, who was elected to the lower house from Bara-2, was unanimously elected the parliamentary party leader of the party even though senior leader Ashok Rai was also an aspirant to the post.
“The meeting of our central working committee has decided to field Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav as candidate for the post of Vice President,” said Shiva Lal Thapa Magar, a senior leader.
Party chair Upendra Yadav, who lost his parliamentary bid in the elections last November, is reportedly planning to make a second attempt at a parliamentary seat by contesting a by-election in the constituency vacated by Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav. As per law, if a lawmaker is elected as President or Vice President, the person should resign from the legislative position.
Upendra Yadav was defeated by Janamat Party chair CK Raut by a huge margin in his home district Saptari.
As per the constitution, the Vice President must be from either a gender or community different to the President. As the president-elect Ram Chandra Paudel is a male from the Khas-Arya hill community, the vice-presidential candidate should now be from a different gender or community.
However, the Election Commission is preparing to issue a public statement Friday saying the candidate for the Vice President must be from a different gender—which is female. "Citing the constitutional provision, we will issue a statement asking parties to field their candidates representing different gender and community than the President-elect," said one of the election commissioners.
If the election body sticks to this stance, the JSP will have to nominate a female instead of former minister Yadav, who represents the Madheshi community, for Vice President.
Citing that the Janata Samajbadi had forged an alliance with the CPN-UML during the November 20 general elections, the second-largest party is considering not fielding its own candidate for Vice President.
If the main opposition party decides to keep away from the race, Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav might get elected unopposed in the event of other fringe parties not contesting the position.
The Election Commission has scheduled the vice-presidential election for March 17. The parties must nominate their candidates on March 13.
JSP is the sixth-largest party in the House of Representatives with 12 seats, after the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, which has 14 members.
If elected, Yadav will be the second Madheshi leader to hold the high position after Paramananda Jha. A former Supreme Court justice, Jha got elected as the first Vice President of the country in 2008.
UML Vice-chairman Surendra Pandey said that there is a possibility of his party not fielding any candidate against Yadav, but the party has not started discussions on it yet.
“There is a possibility, but our party has yet to start discussions on the issue of the Vice President,” Pandey told the Post.