Nepali Congress (NC) leaders have started staking a claim for the post of parliamentary party (PP) leader well before the final outcome of the recently held twin elections.
President Sher Bahadur Deuba, senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel, General Secretary Gagan Thapa, former General Secretary Shashanka Koirala and central member Prakash Man Singh have started lobbying to become the PP leader.
As per the provision of the NC’s statute, the parliamentary party (PP) leader will become the prime minister. The NC which has emerged as the largest party in the ongoing vote count updates, it is likely to form the next government under its leadership.
A top competition is likely between President Sher Bahadur Deuba and General Secretary Gagan Thapa. Both the leaders have intensified their preparations to contest the elections of the PP leader.
General Secretary Thapa has publicly stated that he is all set to contest the PP leader election and no one will prevent him from becoming the prime minister.
Dr Shekhar Koirala who contested the elections for the party president in the 14th General Convention has not spoken anything regarding the PP leader election and the next prime minister.
He will make his views public following consultations with the leaders including President Sher Bahadur Deuba.
“He will come back to Kathmandu from his home district and make his views public following consultations with the party leaders including President Sher Bahadur Deuba,” said Koirala’s personal secretary Dinesh Thapaliya.
According to the Election Commission, the NC has won 54 seats of the House of Representatives by Wednesday.
Directly elected lawmakers from the establishment
Out of 54 lawmakers, 36 including Sher Bahadur Deuba, Ram Chandra Paudel, Purna Bahadur Khadka, Shashanka Koirala, Prakash Man Singh, NP Saud, Ramesh Lekhak, Bir Bahadur Balayar, Pradeep Paudel, Dr. Narayan Khadka and Mohan Bahadur Basnet belong to the establishment.
Similarly, the newly elected other leaders who belong to Deuba group are Kishor Singh Rathore, Shyam Kumar Ghimire, Shankar Bhandari, Ram Hari Khatiwada, Dilli Raj Pant, Pushpa Bahadur Shah, Sita Gurung, Dipak Khadka, Ajaya Kumar Chaurasiya, Ramesh Rijal, Mahendra Kumar Raya, Dinesh Kumar Yadav, Santosh Chalise, Rajendra Kumar KC, Durlav Thapa Chhetri, Mohan Acharya, Purna Bahadur Tamang, Udaya Shamsher Rana, Bishnu Kumar Karki, Tek Bahadur Gurung, Kham Bahadur Garbuja, Binod Kumar Chaudhary, Ain Bahadur Shahi Thakuri, Tejulal Chaudhary and Dev Prasad Timalsina.
The vote count is underway in Sunsari-4. NC candidate Gyanendra Bahadur Chaudhary is taking lead in the vote count. Karki is from the establishment side.
Directly elected lawmakers from non-establishment side
A total of 18 lawmakers are from the non-establishment side. They include Dr Shekhar Koirala, Gagan Kumar Thapa, Bishwa Prakash Sharma, Arjun Narshingh KC, Dilendra Prasad Badu, Chandra Bhandari, Dig Bahadur Limbu, Sunil Kumar Sharma, Ram Krishna Yadav, Ram Nath Adhikari, Rajendra Bajgain, Yogesh Gauchan Thakali, Raju Thapa, Surendra Raj Acharya, Dipak Giri, Sanjaya Kumar Gautam, Dikpal Kumar Shahi and Hridaya Ram Thani.
Despite holding elections in Bajura, Syangja 2, the vote count has not started due to the differences among the leaders concerned. Leaders from these two districts are from the non-establishment side.
Similarly, the EC has decided to hold repolling in 10 polling centers of Dolakha against. CPN (Maoist Center) candidate from the democratic-left alliance is contesting the elections in this constituency.
Possible NC lawmakers under PR category
Based on the PR votes received by the NC, it is likely to get 32 HoR lawmakers. There are 110 lawmakers under PR category. There is a provision that the lawmakers will be elected based on cluster of different sections of the society.
According to this provision, 28.70 percent from Adivasi-Janajati (indigenous nationalities), 31.20 percent from Khas-Arya, 6.60 percent from Tharu, 13.80 from Dalit, 15.30 from Madhesi and 4.40 from Muslim must be represented in the HoR under the PR category. While electing lawmakers in line with this provision, 33 percent of women must be ensured as per the constitutional provision.
Only four males to the maximum will be represented in the HoR as per the mandatory constitutional provision to elect 33 percent of women.
Possible faces of lawmakers under RP category
Saraswati Bajimaya, Lila Devi Bokhim, Sita Kumari Rana, Sushila Thing, Sapana Raj Bhandari, Maya Rai, Kusum Thapa Magar, Ambika Basnet, Sarita Prasain, Arzu Rana Deuba, Ishwari Neupane, Pratima Gautam, Manju Khand, Rama Koirala Paudyal, Kantika Sejuwal, Kalpana Chaudhary, Bina Kumari Thanet, Shanti BK, Rupa BK, Sita Mijar, Asha BK, Bishnu Maya Pariyar, Nagina Yadav, Mukta Kumari Yadav, Chanda Chaudhary, Sangita Mandal, Ninu Kumari Mandal, Jabeda Khatun Jaga, Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Gopal Man Shrestha, Bimalendra Nidhi and Jiwan Pariyar.
Out of 32 possible lawmakers, 22 belong to the establishment while eight are from the non-establishment side, according to the NC leaders.
According to the mandatory provision to elect 33 percent of women, even a male candidate listed in 1 PR list is unlikely to become lawmaker.
“Only one woman won the elections through the first-past-the-post system. Hence, many women candidates have to be sent through the PR list,” said an NC leader. “In this condition, even those male candidates listed in number 1 on the RP list is unlikely to get elected.
Possible PR candidates from establishment
Saraswati Bajimaya, Sita Kumari Rana, Sushila Thing, Sapana Raj Bhandari, Maya Rai, Ambika Basnet, Arzu Rana Deuba, Ishwari Neupane, Manju Khand, Rama Koirala Paudyal, Kantika Sejuwal, Kalpana Chaudhary, Shanti BK, Rupa BK, Asha BK, Bishnu Maya Pariyar, Nagina Yadav, Chanda Chaudhary, Sangita Mandal, Ninu Kumari Mandal, Jabeda Khatun Jaga, Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Gopal Man Shrestha and Bimalendra Nidhi.
Possible PR lawmakers from non-establishment
Sarita Prasain, Pratima Gautam, Liladevi Bokhim, Sita Mijar, Mukta Kumari Yadav, Bina Kumari Thanet, Kusum Thapa Magar and Jivan Pariyar.
Based on the group competition seen in the 14th General Convention of the party and those opening to both sides, if we segregate the group of possible lawmakers, it seems that there will be 58 lawmakers on the establishment side and 26 lawmakers on the other side.
When the complete result of the FPTP comes out and the proportional number of seats are also allotted, there might be some changes in this calculation.
If an election is to be held for the leader of the parliamentary party, General Secretary Thapa seems weaker than President Deuba.