Candidacy endorsed by Nepalese political parties will be terminated, if proven, warns NRNA Australia Election Commissioner

By Ram Khatry, Sydney
26 June 2017


Commissioner of NRNA Australia Election 2017 has warned of severe action including possible “termination of candidacy” if any candidate in the July 8 polls is found to be endorsed by a Nepalese political party.

Asked if he was aware of candidates being endorsed by Kathmandu’s political parties, Dr Krishna Hamal said everyone in the diaspora knew who was affiliated to what political party but as the NRNA Australia Election Commissioner, he had no evidence of such political endorsement.

If anyone provides information on such endorsement then he and his team in 12-member Election Commission would not hesitate to take stern action because NRNA is not a political organisation.

nrna“If anyone can provide us (Election Commission) any evidence showing a presidential candidate is endorsed by a Nepalese political party, we will certainly take action as NRNA Australia’s constitution states that the organisation is a non-political organisation, and therefore we can’t accept a political person as a candidate for president,” Canberra-based Dr Hamal said in an email-interview with southasia.com.au.

Dr Krishna Hamal, Election Commissioner, NRNA Australia Election 2017

Dr Hamal said although there was “no mention of penalty in the constitution”, NRNA’s Election Commission can “move a motion of termination of candidacy in its full meeting” if someone provides proof that a particular candidate has been endorsed by a Nepalese political party.

Every two years, the Nepalese diaspora in Australia is taken over by an election fever which is no less intense than the general elections of any functioning democracy.

Presidential candidates fly cross-country to canvass their agendas, well-lubricated parties become non-stop, Facebook friends requests reach all time high, media interviews become routine and barbecues are thrown in abundance.

This year, there are four presidential candidates: Dr Mahesh Bhandari, Swotantra Pratap Shah, Tonnou Ghotane and Aviman Singh Basnet.

Dr Bhandari and Mr Ghotane are from Victoria while Mr Shah and Mr Basnet are from Queensland. There could be no candidate for the top position from NSW because of a constitutional provision that bars more than two consecutive presidents from the same state. It was for this reason, southasia.com.au understands, that at least two presidential hopefuls from Sydney could not file their nominations.

All four candidates were today requested by southasia.com.au to name one agenda that they thought was the single most important priority for them. Only one candidate was heard from, Melbourne-based lawyer Tonnou Ghotane. Membership reform and lobbying for the betterment of the Nepalese diaspora both at the state and federal levels were his top priorities, he pointed out.

He said an organisation with 8000 plus members must have a strong presence at both state and federal levels and the “growing Nepalese community must have say in Nepalese language at school, mental heath, local laws, more fixed funding to name a few (sic).”

NRNA was formed in 2003 and its first president was Dr Upendra Mahato. Melbourne-based education and property tycoon Shesh Ghale is its current global president. The organisation is driven by a simple-sounding motto, “Once a Nepali you always remain a Nepali”. It wants to employ resources and skills of the global Nepalese diaspora to transform the Nepali society back home.

However, its politicisation is a frequent complaint — not only in Australia but in most of the 73 nations where the non-profit entity is present.

“It is totally nonsense and irresponsible to politicalise NRNA as it is a non-profit, non-political and volunteer organisation established for the wellbeing of the Nepalese people residing all over the world. Since establishment, I have always considered it as an organisation through which we can help out Nepalese people without asking for anything in return,” Dr Hamal expressed his anger.

If anyone wants to do politics, then they should do it outside of NRNA such as many organisations which have been established in Australia as sister-organisations of Nepalese political parties, the senior economist with the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics suggested.

“Moreover, if they are really keen in doing politics they can join mainstream political parties of Australia. By doing so, they can easily fulfil their dream of being a political leader as well as serve our community,” he added.

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