Gautam may reconsider his plan to contest from Kathmandu-7

UML leader Bam Dev Gautam speaks to media during a tea receiption organised at the Presidential Palace, on Monday, October 16, 2017. Photo: RSS

Kathmandu, October 10 As the public and his own party leaders have opposed Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Bamdev Gautam’s plan to contest parliamentary by-election from Kathmandu-7 by making the incumbent lawmaker resign from there, Gautam told his aides today that his plan could be risky for his image and he might reconsider it. Gautam could not be reached for comments.

NCP lawmaker Ram Bir Manandhar had yesterday announced his intention to vacate his Kathmandu-7 constituency to enable Gautam to contest.

Party sources said Gautam got worried today after the public and party leaders began opposing his plan to become a lawmaker. He told his confidants that a conspiracy was being hatched by party leaders against him, according to a party source.

Sources added that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and deputy prime ministers Ishwar Pokhrel and Bhim Rawal were also not in favour of making Manandhar resign from
his constituency for the sake of Gautam.

PM Oli and party Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal today decided to reschedule the party secretariat and standing committee meetings in an attempt to gauge the public mood regarding the idea of vacating Kathmandu-7 constituency for Gautam. Dahal added that by-election in Kathmandu-7 would not be held if the party risked losing the seat.

The party secretariat meeting which was scheduled for today has been rescheduled for October 21 and 22, while the party’s standing committee will meet on October 29 and 30.

Manandhar, who was not willing to sacrifice his seat in the first meeting held with Oli, Dahal and Gautam last month, eventually agreed to do so after he was promised central committee membership, a seat in the National Assembly, ministerial berth and ‘some cash incentives’, said a party leader.

Manandhar, however, denied receiving any cash incentives. He sent a letter to the party secretariat on Monday, saying that he was ready to sacrifice his seat for Gautam.

According to a party source, Gautam has assured Manandhar that if he is allowed to contest from Kathmandu-7, he would announce development package for the constituency before the election code comes into force. Party Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told THT that the party had yet to discuss Manandhar’s resignation and Gautam’s intent to contest Kathmandu-7.