Nepal’s upcoming provincial and parliamentary polls are creating a lot of buzz both within the country and across the globe.
Apart from interesting aspects like the formation of unexpected political alliances, women and couples’ participation were found to be the other highlights of the Nepali Legislative Elections 2017 drawing huge public attention.
Women in Campaigning
With most of the men staying abroad for work, Dolakha of Province 3 is witnessing a remarkable participation of women in campaigning for the upcoming Nepal general elections.
According to the local leaders, this trend is because of the absence of men in the district.
According to UML’s Parbat Gurung and Nepali Congress (NC)’s Rudra Bahadur Khadka, local First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) candidates contesting for the Federal Parliament, a huge presence of women was being seen in the election activities.
Pashupati Chaulagain, CPN-UML’s FPTP candidate from Dolakha-1 (B), made a Facebook post of his poll campaigning pictures involving women campaigners.
“We see huge presence of women in these election programmes as there are only a few men and youths left in the villages,” says Kamala Basnet, Deputy Mayor of Bhimeshwar Municipality.
Kalika Pathak, Vice Chairperson of Kalinchok Rural Municipality, says, “In Magapauwa village, the number of women attending an election-related discussion programme was 60, while only 35 males were present.”
However, the women participation was found to be confined to preparing garlands for the leaders and welcoming the guests, and were hardly invited on to the dais for speeches.
Women account for half of the 2.08 million population of Dolakha and the number of women voters are more than men, at 74,016 out of the total 147,878 registered voters of the district.
The Dang District of Province 5 alone is witnessing eight women candidates in race for the upcoming federal and provincial elections that are scheduled to be held in the district under second phase on December 5, 2017.
According to the Office of Chief Returning Officer, Dang, four women candidates are contesting for three House of Representative seats and a similar number of women are vying for six provincial assembly seats.
Sushila Chaudhary for Nepali Congress, Rekha KC for CPN-UML alliance, KC for the left alliance of UML-CPN alliance are among the eight women candidates.
Around 18 couples are contesting in Nepal’s general and provincial elections 2017.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba (from Dadeldhura) and his wife Arzoo Deuba Rana (from Kailali-5 constituency) are among the prominent leaders contesting in the FTFP category.
While the former Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar is contesting in the PR category, her husband CPN-MC leader Barsha Man Pun is in race under FPTP from the Rolpa constituency.
Nepali Congress leader Bal Krishna Khand and his wife Manju Khand, UML Vice-Chairman Bam Dev Gautam and his wife Tulasha Thapa, and CPN-MC leader Dev Gurung and his wife Yashoda Subedi are among other prominent couples representing different political parties in the upcoming elections.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission officials are also calling for high women participation in the election counting process.
In this regard, the Chief Election Officer of Chitwan, Kul Prasad Sharma has urged the concerned authorities to recruit women for vote counting in the upcoming elections.
Sharma made this statement at a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Social Cohesion and Democratic Participation Programme organized in Bharatpur, recently.
Sharma added that women folks are most suitable for this task because of their modesty and peaceful nature.
CNN Hero and the Founder of reputed organization called Maiti Nepal, Anuradha Koirala has entered the election race on behalf of the Nepali Congress (NC).
“That’s why, at a time when constitution implementation has become challenging, I appeal on everyone to vote for NC and end the political stalemate that has gripped the nation for six decades. Everyone should now know that only a NC-led government will ensure the rights of all people,” says Koirala.
Koirala has drawn wide recognition, globally, for her continuous fight against girl trafficking over the past three decades and CNN has also conferred her with the Hero of the Year’ title in 2010.