The Kathmandu Post, 5 Nov 2017
Although the district committees of various parties have recommended the names of female leaders as the candidates for the federal and provincial elections, not a single female leader has been fielded for the first-past-the-post (FPTP) race in Province-6.
Major parties CPN-UML, Nepali Congress, and the CPN (Maoist Centre) have nominated 12 male leaders and 24 male leaders for the federal and provincial elections, respectively, in the province. Female candidates are absent from the lists of smaller parties as well. And women candidates have not filed their nominations in rebellion against the male domination.
Kunti Shahi (Dailekh) of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Sita Nepali (Surkhet) of the Maoist Centre, Rita Shahi (Humla) of the NC and Mitthu Malla (Rukum) were PR members of the dissolved parliament. Before that, Satya Pahadi (Dolpa) of the Maoist Centre, Dudhkumari Hamal (Dolpa) of the NC, and Sonam Chhejung Lama (Mugu) of the UML were also made PR lawmakers.
There are 10 districts in Province-6. “The male leaders did not give us a chance after the formation of the leftist alliance. Male leaders believe they will easily win the elections,” said Maoist Centre leader Sita Nepali, requesting the parties to be liberal for ensuring gender equality. Female leaders have requested the parties to reserve seats for women. In the parliamentary elections of 1999 and the Constituent Assembly polls of 2008, Tirtha Gautam (Rukum) and Kamala Sharma (Surkhet-1) of the UML were elected lawmakers via direct election. Since then, female leaders have not got the opportunity to contest direct elections.
“I had a desire to be nominated for the FPTP, but, the situation did not favour me. The party placed me on the PR list to manage other leaders,” said NC leader Sita Rana of Dailekh-2.
This time, leaders Bimala KC of Rukum, Tika Budhathoki of Salyan, Pushpa Gharti Bista of Surkhet and Goma Kunwar of Jumla wanted to fight the election on the Maoist ticket. UML leaders Sumitra BC and Nanda Sharma of Surkhet and Mina Singh Rakhal of Dailekh, among others, have the interest to contest the FPTP elections.
“The party did not evaluate my work properly. A majority of the leaders have been selected based on nepotism and favouritism,” said UML leader Mina Singh Rakhal of Dailekh, adding that she has not received the election ticket even once from her party.
Yamlal Kandel, joint coordinator of the UML in Province-6, admitted that there were few nominations of female candidates in the FPTP race due to the electoral system. “There should be a constitutional provision to nominate 33 percent women for the FPTP,” he said.