Kathmandu: Local leaders and cadres from Gorkha district have demanded renowned economist Dr Swarnim Waglé, former vice-chair of the National Planning Commission (NPC), contest the upcoming federal parliamentary elections from the Gorkha district itself.
Waglé was born in Bungkot of Gorkha. The locals, who want Waglé to become Finance Minister of the country, have requested him to contest the election from constituency number one of Gorkha district.
The call comes amid the speculations that Waglé is preparing to contest the polls either from constituency 5 of Kathmandu or constituency 3 of Chitwan district. Locals are of the view that there have been no leaders from Gorkha in the national leadership after Dr Baburam Bhattarai.
Amid reports that the former National Planning Commission vice chair is contesting federal parliamentary polls from either Kathmandu or Chitwan, the denizens of Gorkha have demanded that he vie from Gorkha.
They have also suggested that Dr Waglé, after becoming the Finance Minister, should advance the Budhi Gandaki hydropower project along with other big projects across the country.
Hom Bahadur Rana Magar, party chair from Gandaki Rural Municipality, said: “At present, Gorkha lacks vibrant leaders who can create a discourse of reforms, development and transformation. Dr Waglé possesses brilliant qualities and has already shown his vision for the betterment of people.” He should contest the elections from Gorkha and work for the development of the district, he added.
Local leaders from other Palikas have also raised voices in favor of Waglé. “Dr Waglé should contest from Gorkha,” Nepali Congress president of Sahid Lakhan Rural Municipality, Kasi Amagain said. “He will be supported not only by Nepali Congress but also by CPN-UML and Maoist Center. After all, the entire country will benefit from his vision and future actions,” he added.
Januka Panta, who is a Gorkha-based youth leader from Nepali Congress, said Waglé is the leader sought after and needed in Gorkha. “Waglé should not vie from other districts. People from Gorkha love him, people here want him and people here want him to contribute to the country’s development efforts,” she said, adding that all will support him if he contests the elections from Gorkha.
People in the district are unhappy to hear that Waglé is mulling his candidacy from Chitwan or Kathmandu, according to locals. “It is best if he contests the polls from Gorkha,” said Biswadeep Shrestha, Nepali Congress Gorkha district member.
“Waglé is an international personality. Gorkha is desperate to welcome him as a leader,” said Santosh Gurung, who is the party president of Nepali Congress Dharche Rural Municipality.
Most presidents of Nepali Congress ward committees, Rural Municipality committees and district committees have demanded that Waglé contest the federal parliamentary elections from Gorkha district.
Dr Swarnim Waglé is an eminent Nepali economist, recognized in Nepal as a public intellectual looked up to by the younger generation for his reformist credentials and accomplishments. His recently co-edited policy volume, The Great Upheaval, covering policy implications for Asia, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic was published by Cambridge University Press.
Waglé also chairs a South Asian think-tank, the Institute for Integrated Development Studies (IIDS), based in Kathmandu, and is a Member of the World Bank-steered South Asia Visioning and Championing Process that includes former ministers, secretaries and ambassadors to help advance regional cooperation among South Asian nations.
In April, the former Vice-Chair of Nepal’s National Planning Commission and Chief Economic Advisor at UNDP Asia-Pacific Dr Swarnim Waglé was invited to address Sri Lankan members of parliament. He was invited by the Chair of the committee on public finance, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa.