Nepali women go from home to House

Of the 162 among 165 constituencies where winners of the First Past the Post (FPTP) ballots have been counted from Nepal's parliamentary elections, only nine are women. But they have vowed to raise their voices in Parliament, and not just about gender issues.

There were 225 female candidates among the 2,412 contesting the federal election, and of them Nepal’s mainstream parties fielded only 25 — 11 from UML, seven from the Maoist Centre, five from the Nepali Congress (NC), and only one each from the Rastriya Janamorcha and the Unified Socialists.

Among the nine who won, the UML has the most female MPs with four women elected to office. Bidya Bhattarai was re-elected from Kaski-2, Jwala Kumari Sah, Juli Kumari Mahato, and Bhagwati Chaudhary were elected from Bara-3, Dhanusha-3, and Sunsari-3 respectively.

RSP’s Sobita Gautam and Toshima Karki were elected from Kathmandu-2 and Lalitpur-3, and both young candidates defeated established Maoist women rivals Onsari Gharti Magar and Pampha Bhusal respectively.

"I am glad to have gained the trust of voters of Kathmandu-2, and hope that we move beyond just winners and losers to ensure that democracy delivers development and better services," Gautam said after visiting her grandparents in Dolakha to get their blessings.

Voters in Dolakha headed to the polls once more this week, after voting was disturbed due to a dispute on 20 November. Results from two other constituencies in Syangja and Bajura have also been delayed because of allegations of cheating. 

In Lalitpur, physician Toshima Karki who won as an independent candidate of the RSP got to work immediately by meeting local officials to improve the dilapidated road to Bhaisepati,  with site visits and followup. She has asked her supporters not to spend money on garlands and khada.

"You have elected me to do some real work, and I am now getting down to it," Karki said after her victory rally. 

Meanwhile, NC’s Sita Gurung was elected from Terathum, Maoist Rekha Sharma from Dang-2, Nagarik Unmukti Party’s Ranjita Shrestha from Kailali-1.

In Kaski, Bidya Bhattarai was re-elected with 16,998 votes defeating her closest competitor— RSP’s Madhav Prasad Kandel, who obtained 12,495 votes. Bhattarai has become MP after a by-election following the death of her husband, UML leader Rabindra Adhikari, who was  Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, was killed along with six others in a helicopter crash in 2019. 

The UML's Juli Mahato won in Dhanusha-3, obtaining 33,388 votes and defeating LSP’s Anil Jha by a margin of 9,702 votes. Mahato, who has been an MP twice through the Proportional Representation (PR) system, contested the election directly for the first time and had the support of the JSP.

In Bara-3 Jwala Kumari Sah garnered 20, 251 votes while her competitor, Rambabu Kumar Yadav of Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) secured 17,279 votes. Sah was previously elected to the Provincial Assembly as a Maoist Centre leader in 2017.

Former State Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Bhagwati Chaudhary of the UML defeated coalition candidate and five-time Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, receiving 40,788 to Gachhadar’s 35,600. A member of the Constituent Assembly in 2008, Chaudhary— who began her political career at the All Nepal National Free Students' Union— had competed with Gachhadar in 2013 and 2017, but had lost both times.

In Kathmandu-2, lawyer Sobita Gautam of the RSP was elected with 15, 238 votes while her closest competitor, UML's Maniram Phuyal, received 11,566 votes. RSP’s Toshima Karki, a doctor, was elected from Lalitpur-3, defeating UML's Amrit Bhattarai. Karki obtained 31,136 votes while Khadka got 12, 963 votes.

NC’s only female winner Sita Gurung received 19,707 votes in Terhathum, defeating UML’s Bijay Subba, who got 18,631 votes.

In Dang-2, Maoist leader Rekha Sharma defeated UML General Secretary Shankar Pokhrel by a scant margin of 193 votes. Sharma, a two-time MP under the PR system, contested the direct election for the first time.

Nagarik Unmukti Party Chair Ranjita Shrestha was elected from Kailali-1 with 30,404 votes. She defeated NC leader Ram Janam Chaudhary, who received 18, 081 votes in total.

Defeated women

In 2017, 90 women were voted to Parliament: six women through direct ballots and 84 by popular votes. Four out of six women elected under the FPTP in 2017 were given tickets by their parties again in 2022, three of whom have lost the election this time. UML leader Padma Kumari Aryal is a second-time FPTP candidate from Syangja-2, where the votes are still being counted.

Energy Minister Pampha Bhusal of the Maoist Centre came third in Kathmandu-2 with only 8, 769 votes. Similarly, former House Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar of the Maoists came in fourth place in Lalitpur-3 with 9,459 votes. 

In Dang-1, UML party whip Shanta Chaudhary was defeated by Metmani Chaudhary of the CPN-Unified Socialists (US). In Arghakhanchi-1, Deputy Speaker Pushpa Bhusal of the NC was defeated by UML candidate Top Bahadur Rayamajhi. Former minister Ram Kumari of CPN-US Ram Kumari Jhakri was defeated by UML leader Gokarna Bista in Gulmi-2. 

In Kathmandu-7, Manushi Yami Bhattarai of the Maoist Centre came in third place. Maoist leader Kalpana Dhamala was defeated in Kathmandu-9 by UML leader Krishna Gopal Shrestha. Anjana Bisankhe of the MC came in fifth place in Kathmandu-10.

In Dang-3 and Kanchanpur-3 UML leaders Komal Oli and Niru Devi Pal were defeated by NC’s Deepak Giri and Ramesh Lekhak respectively.

Meanwhile, Rastriya Janamorcha Party Durga Poudel was defeated by UML candidate Surya Bahadur Thapa Chhetri in Pyuthan. Rastriya Prajatantra Party’s (RPP) Kunti Kumari Shahi came in third place in Dailekh-1 

Former minister Bina Magar of the Maoist Centre was defeated by UML candidate Tara Lama Tamang in Kanchanpur-1. NC Joint General Secretary Mahalakshmi Upadhyay 'Dina' was defeated by RPP leader Deepak Bahadur Singh Makwanpur-1, while former minister Chitra Lekha Yadav of NC was defeated in Siraha-2 by JSP’s Raj Kishore Yadav.

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